Author Archives: vashonmauryaudubon2

Our 2019 calendar is here!

The 2019 Birds of Vashon-Maury Island calendar, featuring beautiful photos taken on the Island by local photographers, is for sale now. Find them at the Vashon Thriftway customer service counter and at the Vashon Bookshop. Cost is $15 each.

Proceeds from calendar sales support Vashon Audubon activities, such as our free presentations by bird experts, participation in Chautauqua Elementary School’s fourth-grade bird program, and Vashon High School scholarships.

Update: The 2019 calendars are sold out. Thank you to everyone who supported Audubon by purchasing a calendar!

Marbled Murrelets need you now

This fall, Washington State is seeking public input on important decisions on the fate of this endangered seabird.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) just released its Revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement (RDEIS) for the Long Term Conservation Strategy for the Marbled Murrelet. This strategy will be implemented on 1.4 million acres of state forest for the next 50 years.

This is a critical time for the endangered seabird, whose population in Washington has declined 44 percent since 2001. DNR manages 213,000 acres of land in western Washington, where mature and old-growth coastal forests provide the Murrelet’s preferred nesting trees. These forests are public lands and you have a voice in how they are managed.

Many people submitted comments on the previous draft of the Environmental Impact Statement in early 2017. Now we are close to the end of a 60-day public comment period.

The Marbled Murrelet Coalition’s goal is to guide DNR to select an alternative that makes a significant contribution to the recovery of the endangered Murrelet. (Coalition members are Conservation Northwest, Defenders of Wildlife, Olympic Forest Coalition, Seattle Audubon Society, Washington Environmental Council, and Washington Forest Law Center.)

Below are links to background information and message points for you to consider including in your public comments.

Action you can take

Submit a comment letter urging the DNR and USFWS to do more to protect this endangered seabird and the mature and old-growth forests where it nests. The deadline for comments is Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, at 5 p.m. UPDATE: The deadline for comments has been extended to Thursday, Dec. 6, 5 p.m. Your comments will be received by both DNR and USFWS.

Submit your comments via the official comment portal: www.surveymonkey.com/r/MMLTCSRDEIS

Or mail your written comments to: SEPA Center, PO Box 47015, Olympia, WA 98504-7015

For more information

Washington Environmental Council two-pager: https://wecprotects.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Marbled-Murrelet-One-Pager-V2-2018.pdf

WEC webpage with links: https://wecprotects.org/marbled-murrelet

Message points suggested by the Marbled Murrelet Coalition

DNR’s preferred alternative (Alternative H) doesn’t do enough to support Murrelet recovery primarily because it permits the harvest of too much of our mature and old forests over the next 50 years and does not conserve enough habitat as mitigation.

• Applying the most recent data available, DNR must protect all occupied sites, increase existing interior forest habitat, and establish buffers that will protect vulnerable Murrelet chicks from predators.

• No Long-Term Conservation Strategy (LTCS) should include a net loss of habitat. In the North Puget region, Alternative H anticipates a net loss of more than 1,000 acres after 50 years. The LTCS should include a net increase in habitat for Murrelets across our landscape

• The LTCS should include more and larger Murrelet-specific conservation areas to broaden the geographic distribution of Murrelets in western Washington. Isolated conservation areas create and exacerbate Murrelet population gaps that hinder the species’ survival and recovery.

• The LTCS should lead to more Murrelets across more of our landscape, not fewer Murrelets in smaller forest patches. Broader geographic distribution helps reduce the risk that major human or natural disturbances (logging, roadbuilding, wildfire, increased nest predation) will wipe out significant portions of the Murrelet population.

• The plan must look to the future and protect Murrelets from natural disturbances. DNR should more thoroughly evaluate the potential impacts of tree mortality, wildfire, windthrow, and our warming climate. Habitat loss and degradation from such disturbances should be accurately calculated and properly mitigated.

• The LTCS should also better protect Murrelets from the impacts of human-caused disturbance, especially in areas where Murrelets are known to nest (occupied sites), the forest buffers around those sites, and the “special habitat areas.” Disturbance such as road construction and the use of heavy equipment may result in “take” of Murrelets that is not properly mitigated.

• A meaningful Long-Term Conservation Strategy must set aside enough current and future old forest to not only offset the habitat the DNR plans to log but also to improve forest habitat conditions for the Murrelet, without putting the existing population at further risk. The Long-Term Conservation Strategy must truly support real conservation for the Murrelets for the long-term.

 

Ed Swan revives Washington Birds journal

Ed Swan, a long-time Vashon birder and author of Birds of Vashon Island, recently announced that Washington Birds, the journal of the Washington Ornithological Society, is back after a long hiatus. Ed is the new editor of the journal, which is available for reading online at the WOS website.

Several members of the Vashon birding community contributed to the new edition of the journal. An article by Gary Shugart leads the General Interest section. Ed and Jim McCoy co-wrote a species account for the Northern Wheatear that discusses the Wheatear that visited Vashon several years ago. Ed said that Sue Trevathan’s work is spread invisibly throughout the journal, as she edited and reviewed a number of articles.

For cost reasons, the journal is now available free only online. If enough people express interest in a hard copy, a short run will be printed and sold at a price to be determined by the amount of orders. Email the editor at wabirds@wos.org if you wish to purchase a hard copy of the journal.

Landscaping with native plants

Come to our program on Landscaping with Native Plants, Thursday, Nov. 8, 7 p.m. at the Land Trust. Moderated by Land Trust Director Tom Dean, a panel of experts will talk about how to plan, plant and maintain native plant landscaping. Bring your questions!

Speakers are Melissa Schafer, Schafer Specialty Landscape and Design; John Brown, Judd Creek Nursery; and Scott Anderson, Master Gardener.

Photo of Cedar Waxwing eating chokecherry berry by David Waterworth

Go birding and make a difference!

Are seabirds in the southern Salish Sea increasing or decreasing in numbers? Which species are changing their range?

Help us find out. The Puget Sound Seabird Survey (PSSS) is a community and citizen science project managed by Seattle Audubon that empowers volunteer birdwatchers to gather valuable data on wintering seabird  populations across the southern Salish Sea.

This season PSSS will be expanding the project, yet again, this time north to the Canadian border and the San Juan Islands. They received funding from the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program through the Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife to add 15-30 new survey sites, develop an oil spill plan, and train volunteers on how to react to a spill.

You can contribute to this vital seabird science by joining the 12th season of this exciting project. PSSS is now recruiting enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers to help monitor the status of our local wintering seabirds. Training on survey methodology will be provided at a location near you in September and early October.

Volunteers should ideally be able to identify Puget Sound’s seabird species and be available on the first Saturday of each month, October through April, to conduct a 30-minute survey. But, if determining between Lesser and Greater Scaup is a challenge, you’ll be teamed up with more knowledgeable surveyors. To help PSSS determine each volunteer’s seabird identification skills, visit www.seabirdsurvey.org to take a quick, fun Seabird ID quiz.

Learn more, including training dates, at www.seabirdsurvey.org and email Toby Ross, Senior Science Manager, at tobyr@seattleaudubon.org if you would like more information or to take part.

4th grade birding program inspires young artists

For nearly 25 years, Vashon Audubon has participated in Chautauqua Elementary School’s 4th grade birding program, contributing presentations about birds and field trips on the island.

The Vashon Center for the Arts also participates through its artist-in-the-classroom program. In 2018, artist Bruce Morser led the students in drawing and painting birds. The kids’ work was displayed in the VCA breezeway during the summer. This video captures some of their delightful work.

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