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May 2004 Issue (vol 35, number 5)
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MAY General Membership Meeting

Tuesday, May 25, 7:30 PM
Shuksan Middle School
PROGRAM: Birds of Trinidad and Tobago

For those who would like a good introduction to birding in the New World tropics, Trinidad is the ideal place to get started. It is the southernmost of the Caribbean islands, but its location immediately off the mainland of Venezuela gives it an avifauna much more typical of South America than the Caribbean. With habitats ranging from lowland marshes to mountain rain forests, Trinidad has more than 400 species of birds.

The main center-of-attraction for birders in Trinidad is the Asa Wright Nature Center in the Northern Range. Once a plantation for coffee, cocoa, and citrus, the property was converted to an ecotourist center in 1967. Visitors to the lodge can sit on the veranda and have close-up views of tanagers, honeycreepers, hummingbirds, motmots, and numerous other kinds of birds as they come to the feeders set out below. A network of trails in the adjacent rain forest offers additional species such as bellbirds, manikins, and woodcreepers, plus a rare opportunity to see an Oilbird colony.

Come to the meeting of the North Cascades Audubon Society on May 25 and join chapter member Barry Ulman as he presents slides and talks about the delights of this tropical paradise. As always, meetings of the North Cascades Audubon Society are FREE and open to the public.

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Volunteers Needed for Swan Necropsy Work

Volunteers are needed to help the US Fish and Wildlife Service perform necropsies of lead-poisoned swans during the week of May 2-7 at the WWU Environmental Lab on Bakerview Road. Volunteers are needed to help with record keeping, carcass opening, and to perform other tasks. Please contact Martha Jordan of the Trumpeter Swan Society at 425-787-0258 or e-mail to swanlady@drizzle.com for more information, or if you are able to help out.

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September Song

With this issue, we bring to a close another newsletter year, but well be back in September. The Board of Directors will be busy and available to members throughout the summer, to answer questions or to help with anything you have that might be pertinent to the goals of the chapter. Have a great summer and well all meet right here in September!

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From Chesaw to Othello... January to June

by Joe Meche
(assisted by Maynard Axelson)

My newest best friend, Maynard, and I traveled to the east side of the mountains in late March to attend to a bit of business near Chesaw and then present a program at the Othello Sandhill Crane Festival. The trip held promise for a variety of good birds and good times in the Okanogan high country and in the Sandhill Crane country around Othello.

I drove through pouring rain on the way to Fir Island to pick up Maynard and then WE drove through pouring rain on the way to Stevens Pass and the east side. As is usually the case, we left the rain behind as we crested the Cascades and descended onto the dry side, just in time for lunch at Gustavs in Leavenworth. The Reuben with sauerkraut was sensational!

The highlights of the first afternoon included both Prairie and Peregrine Falcons soaring over the cliffs above Dry Falls and a herd of Long-billed Curlews in a field south of the Bridgeport area. We also observed numerous swallows and waterfowl on and around the numerous lakes between Moses Lake and Bridgeport. Our target for the first night was a staging area in Brewster. We staged in Brewster because we had an early wake-up call to meet with our guide, Teri Pieper, who would escort us to the Sage Grouse lek on the Waterville Plateau, north of Mansfield.

Just after daylight, and in a chilly wind that felt like it came from somewhere near the Arctic Circle, we stopped to observe 15 male Sage Grouse on the lek, doing what male Sage Grouse do on the lek at that time of year. As impressive as it is for them to be strutting, puffing out their chests and their air sacs, and spreading their tail feathers, there was a bit of comic relief to warm the spirits of the observer. We also searched in the area for Sharp-tailed Grouse and Long-eared Owls, but didnt locate any (one of my favorite road trip pastimes is to make a list of the birds that I DONT see, but thought that I would).

After a fine morning afield with Teri, we parted company and headed for the sprawling metropolis of Chesaw, where Maynards family has a cabin. We had a mission on hand near Chesaw, so it wasnt going to be all play. Maynard had built a couple of nesting boxes for Barrows Goldeneyes and our job was to find suitable trees near Lake Beth. Using rudimentary tools and woodland skills, we managed to mount the boxes and even cleaned out a couple of older boxes that have been in place for ten years.

At over 3,000 feet in the Okanogan, lakes were frozen and there was still snow on the ground on the north-facing slopes, so we did a bit of post holing to get to the older boxes. We found abandoned goldeneye and merganser eggs in both boxes and were left to speculate as to why they were abandoned.

After the new boxes were in place, we headed back to the cabin for a bite of lunch and a bit of drying out. Gaiters probably would have kept the snow out of our boots, but who would have thought to be prepared for deep snow? After all, it was almost April.

After lunch, we headed up to Molson and Sidley Lakes to see what we might. Parts of these two lakes, which are just south of the Canadian border, were frozen but both Barrows and Common Goldeneyes were present, along with Ring-necked Ducks and a large gaggle of Branta canadensis. The resident pair of Bald Eagles was on or near the nest on the far side of the lakes.

On Fields Lake, near Chesaw, we toured a most incredible display of beaver art. In the midst of what can only be described as a beaver-wrought devastation of downed trees was an elaborate array of trees that had recently been felled and sculpted by a pair of beavers. The trees appeared to have been laid out in a pattern and the notches on the trunks were evenly-spaced and cut to the same depth. Given the scope of the devastation, it appeared that several generations of beavers had been active for a while on this lake.

We searched high and low on every fence post and along every meadow edge for Great Gray Owls but found none (theres that list, again). As the afternoon faded and evening approached, snow started to fall &#; horizontally. As we made our way to Chesaw, we noticed a swirling, tumbling flock of birds that could only have been Snow Buntings. As they settled into the stubble and we got out the scope, the snow increased and created a real wintry scene that, in spite of the chill, warmed the soul. This sighting and the whole scene was a trip highlight for me &#; Maynards probably has to do with the story about the key to the outhouse. Hey, no one told me the rules!

Other birds that we saw during the day were Ring-necked Pheasants and Wild Turkeys, up the road from Oroville. Just before we returned to the cabin for the last night, we observed a Ruffed Grouse stripping seeds off the branches of an alder.

Another early wake-up call greeted us on our last day so we could leave early enough to drive to Othello and do our joint program to promote the Washington Brant Festival and Blaine birds. The big surprise was to drive through a full-blown winter-scape first thing in the morning. Snow covered the ground until we began to lose elevation on the way down to Tonasket. When we reached Highway 97, the ground was bare and we continued south, leaving January behind in Chesaw and heading toward June in Othello &#; at the end of March!

The morning sun and the drive downriver to the Okanogan/Columbia confluence were uneventful as far as birds, other than the usual waterfowl and swallow suspects. We had planned to take a back road into Othello to search for Burrowing Owls along the way, but the Washington State Patrol failed to realize the importance of our mission and encouraged us to slow down! I guess they werent birders.

We arrived in time to do our program and left to cover the nearby habitats for additional species. If I had been alive during the Oklahoma Dust Bowl days, I believe I would have felt a bit of nostalgia. The wind was pushing sand and dust in swirling masses and sand-blasting everything in its path. We never did find Burrowing Owls (break out the list) but we located a flock of >200 Sandhill Cranes and a small flock of Black-necked Stilts &#; hiding from the wind at Scooteney Reservoir, south of Othello.

In all, it was a good road trip, with typical sightings and not so atypical weather for late March in Washington. Rain, wind, dust, sun, and snow &#; who could ask for more? Most notable among the birds on the trip were the ever-popular and ever-melodious Western Meadowlarks. What an incredible song!

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RE Sources Environmental Heroes Awards Banquet

by Robyn duPre

Help local environmental education and advocacy organization RE Sources celebrate those in the community who have gone the extra mile on behalf of the environment at the second annual Environmental Heroes Awards Banquet. The event, scheduled for Saturday, June 5, 5:30 PM, at the Bellwether Ballroom, is also a fundraiser for RE Sources environmental education programs. Local heroes will be honored in the areas of environmental education, research, advocacy, and business.

The keynote speaker will be Severn Cullis-Suzuki, winner of the 2003 UN Environment Programs Global 500 Award, host of David Suzukis Nature Quest on the Discovery Channel, and champion for the inclusion of youth in decisions that affect their future. In 1990, at the age of 12, Ms. Suzuki, daughter of David Suzuki, gave a compelling speech to the UN Conference for the Environment in Rio. Ever since, she has been a sought-after speaker who eloquently expresses the concerns of young people about the plight of the planet.

In addition to Ms. Cullis-Suzuki, the evening will include a cocktail hour, dinner, a small auction, and some musical fun with the Raging Grannies. There will be door prizes, too!

Tickets for this years event are $35, and includes dinner. Last years event was sold out early, so reserve your seats soon. To make reservations or to make a donation to this years auction, call RE Sources at 733-8307. The Environmental Heroes Awards are sponsored by Food Pavilion/Cost Cutter Stores, Re-cycling and Disposal Services, and the Bellingham Weekly.

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Boreal Forest Conservation Framework

submitted by Debbie Craig

Stretching from Alaska to the Atlantic Ocean, Canadas boreal forest is one of the worlds largest forests. It accounts for 25 percent of the Earths remaining intact forests, covers 1.3 billion acres, and is larger than the Brazilian Amazon. With more fresh water than any place on Earth, Canadas boreal forest supports some of the largest populations of wildlife such as grizzly bears and wolves, and provides vital breeding grounds for up to a third of North Americas land birds and 40 percent of its waterfowl.

In December 2003, the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) announced a landmark vision to protect this global treasure. The Boreal Conservation Framework proposes a new approach to balancing conservation and economic development: the establishment of a network of large, interconnected protected areas covering about half of Canadas boreal region, and the use of cutting-edge sustainable development practices in remaining areas. The Framework reflects an extraordinary alliance of conservation organizations, First Nations, and timber and oil companies who have signed on to the Framework. Information about the Framework can be found at CBIs website at www.borealcanada.com.

While vast tracts of the boreal region remain unspoiled at this point, the release of the Framework comes at a time when development is rapidly escalating and land use decisions in every Canadian province and territory will determine the fate of much of the boreal region within the next three to five years. With 90% of the boreal under public ownership, a critical next step will be to persuade Canadian governments to play a central role in making the Frameworks vision a reality.

Much of the resource development in the boreal is being driven by US consumption. The US is the leading importer of Canadian forest products and oil and gas. Eighty-one percent of Canadas forest products go to the US, and most of the wood cut in Canadas boreal is used to make paper, including catalogs, junk mail, magazines, and newspapers. And the US buys more of its oil and gas from Canada &#; 60% of which is produced from the boreal &#; than any other single source.

Of the 298 bird species that have some of their breeding grounds in the boreal forest, at least 40 species of land birds and several species of ducks are already experiencing population declines, in part due to habitat loss from logging and oil and gas development.

While American consumption is largely responsible, it also means that American citizens and companies can influence the fate of this global treasure. The boreal is perhaps the greatest conservation opportunity left on Earth.

An international campaign focused in the US is emerging. The Boreal Songbird Network is a new network of conservation groups that include the Boreal Songbird Initiative, the National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the American Bird Conservancy. These groups are working to build a broad base of international support for boreal conservation and the adoption of the Boreal Framework.

For more information on how you can help protect the boreal forest, please go to the Boreal Songbird Initiative website at www.borealbirds.org.

The Boreal Songbird Initiative is a new project dedicated to educating bird conservationists and naturalists throughout the United States about the importance of North Americas boreal forests to migratory birds.

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Beachcombers/Birders Wanted

The Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) is a citizen-science project dedicated to involving volunteers in the collection of high-quality data on the status and trends of coastal resources &#; mainly seabirds &#; for the purpose of science, informed management and conservation, and proactive citizen involvement and action. What do we do, you ask? We systematically count and identify the birds that wash ashore along beaches in Washington! Volunteers need no experience with birds; just a commitment to survey a specific beach each month. If you are interested in participating, please join us for our Bellingham/Skagit training session on Sunday May 23, from 12 noon to 3 PM, at the RE Store at 600 W. Holly Street. For more information or to sign up, call Wendy Steffensen at 733-8307. Also, check out our website at http://www.coasst.org.

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May 1-31, 2004

Okay folks, chapters members, birders, et al, its time once again to dust off those optics and put on your fundraising shoes to participate in this years NCAS Birdathon. The efforts of the past few years have been anything but exemplary, but theres no reason why we cant give it an all-out effort this year.

Birdathon is the big NCAS fundraiser that gives us all an opportunity (excuse?) to spend the day looking for birds to add to our lists &#; in a friendly yet competitive way, of course. There are numerous ways to participate in the Birdathon and everyone is welcome, regardless of age or experience. If youre wondering how you can be a part of our favorite fundraiser, consider some of the following options:

You can participate alone or with a friend or three.

You can be a sponsor of one of the teams.

You can count birds that come to the feeders in your backyard.

You can plan your own route and even make your Birdathon a part of your family vacation, as long as its within a 24-hour period, in the month of May.

During the 24-hour period, you simply move about within your chosen area and count each species you observe. Unlike the CBC and other counts where individual numbers are counted, on the Birdathon, each species counts as one (1) on your tally sheet; i.e., if you see 500 Dunlin, they count as one species. This run-and-gun method allows you to cover more ground and pick up more species during the count day.

This year, we will require that all Birdathoners pay a $25 participation fee. If you choose to go it alone, right off the bat, youve already raised $25! Put together a team with three of your favorite people/birdwatching friends and youre looking at $100! Its that simple! No rocket science here. NCAS is not opposed to your team having a catchy name, so let the creativity flow.

No one likes to go out and ask people for money, but consider the potential from the funds that well raise and the NCAS projects and programs that will benefit from those funds. NCAS is a volunteer-driven non-profit organization and the programs and projects that we create and participate in have their costs.

Consider the fun you can have asking all your friends, family, and co-workers to help fund the future projects of NCAS. Get people to sponsor you or your team with a fixed donation or a certain amount per species observed. In the process, you can help to make people aware of the natural world and its myriad of inhabitants &#; especially those winged wonders.

For more information or to register your team, call Joe Meche at 738-0641, or e-mail him at joemeche@aol.com.

Join Team Woodcock...

I am planning to bird a route aimed at birding economy. How about joining a team that will, by hitting some of the birding hot spots of western Skagit and Whatcom Counties, attempt to list one species for every mile driven? That would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 species. We can get started around 5 AM birding in the Bow and Butler hills area of Skagit County. From there we will head south to the Skagit Wildlife Area at Fir Island and bird our way back to Bellingham along Padilla Bay, Samish Flats, and Chuckanut Drive. Continuing north, we will check out the Tennant Lake area, Lake Terrell, Birch Bay State Park, Semiahmoo, and Drayton Harbor. I hope that we will have time to bird the evening away back in the hills near Sumas. Team members should want to enjoy themselves but be persistent, dawn to dusk. We can select the exact date as the team forms, but I would like to aim at the weekend of May 15 or 16.

Paul Woodcock

...or Team Killdeer

Cindy and I have been doing the NCAS Birdathon for several years and weve approached it with something that borders on a toss-up between mental illness and religious dedication. Weve done it in Oregon and weve done it in Louisiana. Our favorite route, however, is totally within the boundaries of Washington state, and this is the route we plan to follow this year.

We will begin the day with coffee before dawn in the Methow Wildlife Area and search for birds in the hills east and northeast of Winthrop; follow Highway 20 over the mountains all the way to the area around Deception Pass and Anacortes; and follow the shoreline north all the way to Blaine and Semiahmoo, where we usually enjoy a fantastic sunset &#; one year we witnessed a double green flash from Semiahmoo to end the day.

Birdathons are as fun as you make them. It can be a long day but the FQ &#; Fun Quotient &#; is there. Cindy and I would welcome a couple of fun-seeking birders to join us in our quest to break our NCAS record of 117 species in one Birdathon day. Its not rocket surgery, but it is very contagious. The route we take from the eastside to the west is approximately 460 miles so be prepared for that part of the big day.

Joe Meche

Start your own team?

Call Joe Meche for details at 738-0641.

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Violet-green Swallow Nesting Box Program

Cindy and I have lived in the downtown core, on Commercial Street, for over four years now and have come to enjoy the spring and summer activities of a rather large number of Violet-green Swallows. When we moved in, Tricia Otto presented us with a house-warming gift of a nesting box designed specifically for this special member of the swallow family.

I installed the first box on the east side of our apartment and the swallows found the box in no time at all. We have had Violet-green families raised in that box for 4 years. Just last year, Tricia gave us another box and we had a total of 8 fledglings leave the boxes at precisely 8 AM on July 12.

What I have come to realize is that the sky above downtown Bellingham is rich with Violet-green Swallows. In the morning and again in the evening from our rooftop deck, the swallow numbers are impressive. Ive added another box for this nesting season and already, on April 11, swallows are checking out the boxes.

The program that I wish to begin in the downtown area is a simple plan to build and mount as many boxes as I can for NEXT year. The size and shape of the entry holes of these boxes allow only Violet-green Swallows to enter. Starlings, House Sparrows, and even House Finches that nest in the downtown area are too big to fit into these boxes. Violet-greens, on the other hand, take to them quite readily.

If you or someone you know has access to any building(s) in the downtown area that is (are) suitable for one of these boxes, Id like to talk to you/them. I will build as many boxes as are requested and arrange to install and monitor them throughout the breeding season. If you prefer, I can show you the basics of mounting, monitoring, and cleaning. I only ask that you keep track of the nesting success and provide me with details at the end of each nesting season.

Violet-green Swallows are cavity nesters that must compete with other cavity nesters. The shortage of suitable habitat and nesting sites makes this project a worthwhile endeavor. If youve ever heard the dawn chorus of a pair of courting Violet-greens, youll want to join in. The downtown sky is filled with Violet-greens this evening as I write, and theyre all looking for a home. The best part is that this is a project that you can participate in at no cost to you.

If youd like more information or wish to participate, just let me know by phone at 738-0641, or feel free to e-mail me at joemeche@aol.com.

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Is Judson Lake the Lead-Shot Source Poisoning Our Swans?

by Tom Pratum
NCAS Conservation Committee

For approximately the past year, the owner of the Canadian side of Judson Lake has been campaigning to have the lake dredged to remediate the lead shot problem there. This has raised concern among some chapter members and members of the general public that a serious problem affecting our swan population is being ignored.

I can assure you that this is not the case. The Canadian Wildlife Service has investigated the lead shot content of several lakes used for swan roosting and did find that Judson Lake has a significant amount of lead shot. However, even more shot was found at Lakemount, and a similar amount at Laxton Lake (Laxton Lake is just north of Judson, and Lakemount is somewhat farther to the northeast). So yes, Judson Lake has a significant amount of shot, but is this really THE problem?

Just because poisoned swans are found on Judson Lake, this does not mean that the lead shot that is poisoning their systems came from there. If this were the case, then we should be dredging Wiser Lake, since many lead-poisoned swans are also recovered there.

Sick swans are often found on their night roost sites simply because they have no energy to forage during the day. However, they may well have obtained the shot while foraging in agricultural fields and this could be occurring since many agricultural fields are now, and have been in the past, used for hunting. Supporting this thought is the observation of literally hundreds of lead shot in the gizzards of some recovered swans. This level of lead shot could come from no source that has thus far been investigated &#; including, and especially, Judson Lake.

Resources available for this project are limited and the agencies involved have been living pretty much hand-to-mouth. We support a full investigation of the sources of shot prior to undertaking expensive remediation projects. The current strategy of radio-collaring and tracking swans and then correlating those movements with those swans which are recovered in lead-poisoned condition, should lead us to the local sources that are out there. These potential sources can then be investigated more thoroughly.

I would to take this opportunity, again, to thank the chapter members who have helped us support this program over the past three years. If you have questions about this issue, please feel free to contact me at water@northcascadesaudubon.org or phone me at 360-715-8244.

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Cherry Point Marine Resources Win Further Protection

by David Schmalz
NCAS Vice President
Conservation Chair

On March 15, the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a long-awaited decision which stands to provide key additional protection to critical marine resources at Cherry Point in Whatcom County.

A coalition of environmental advocates, including North Cascades Audubon, has been seeking redress in the courts since 2000 related to the issuance of a permit by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) to the former Arco refinery (subsequently purchased, and now owned and operated by British Petroleum) for the construction of an additional berthing wing at their Cherry Point refinery, just outside Ferndale on the Strait of Georgia.

During the ACOE review of the initial application, state natural resource agencies, local tribes, and environmental groups expressed concerns that increased ship traffic and expanded refinery operations posed additional risks to critical Cherry Point marine resources. Cherry Point provides key habitat for all five species of Pacific salmon including Chinook, recently afforded protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. In addition, Cherry Point is the site of spawning beds for what has been until recently, Washington states largest stock of herring. Herring are the cornerstone of the regional marine food chain and the Cherry Point stock has suffered a catastrophic and unexplained collapse over the last decade.

Despite these concerns, ACOE issued the permit without requiring adequate environmental review, concluding that the project would likely have no significant impact on the environment. In response, the North Cascades Audubon Society joined with Re Sources, Ocean Advocates, Fuel Safe Washington, and Dan Crawford, a local fisherman, in an appeal to federal court seeking redress for the ACOE decision.

Included in the coalitions request for remedy was the requirement for a full environmental impact statement related to the effects of the pier expansion under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and a review of whether or not the construction of the pier violated a federal law that bars construction or modification of new piers that could increase the volume of crude oil shipped in Puget Sound unless needed to supply the needs of the state. The appeal cited a provision of federal law championed by the late U.S. Senator Warren Magnuson (D-WA), which set standards intended to balance the economic benefits of Puget Sound refineries with all other benefits of the Sound - both economic and ecological.

In 2002, a federal judge ruled in agreement with ACOE and BP. Stunned by a seemingly arbitrary and capricious ruling, the coalition opted to appeal that decision to the 9th Circuit Appellant Court. Surviving numerous legal attempts and strategies by BP to bar further action by the coalition, arguments were heard by the Appellant Court in 2003, and in mid-March the court issued its decision reversing and/or remanding key components of the lower courts decision.

The Federal Appeals court ruled that the pier expansion was indeed built without necessary environmental studies and evaluation, concluding that ACOE did not take an obligatory hard look at the project and BPs arguments about its impacts. The court stated that increased tanker traffic elevates the risk of oil spills - an undeniable and patently apparent risk of harm to Puget Sound, and that an oil spill could destroy and disrupt ecosystems and kill or injure critical numbers of threatened and endangered species that live and thrive in the Cherry Point region. In a particularly stinging criticism of ACOE rationale and lower court findings, the appellant court stated that A patently inaccurate factual contention can never support an agencys determination that a project will have &#;no significant impact on the environment.

The environmental coalition is not seeking dismantling or removal of the completed dock. Rather, the court agreed with appellants that a full NEPA analysis must be completed including an environmental impact statement that will address, among other issues, vessel traffic safety in relation to the facility itself and other nearby piers; oil spill prevention and preparedness plans; and a comprehensive analysis of potential adverse effects to herring and endangered Chinook salmon.

The appellant court decision is now remanded to a U.S. District Court judge who will determine if BPs tanker traffic is currently greater than the level it was in 2000, when the coalition first filed their appeal. If tanker traffic has increased, the court will require traffic to decline to 2000 levels until the full impacts of greater ship traffic and the pier on the environment is evaluated under NEPA guidelines.

The court, in its upholding of the Magnuson language has given the first judiciary support to the concept of limiting the amount of crude oil which may be allowed into Puget Sound with the intent of balancing that activity, along with its inherent risks, with the other economic and ecological values of Puget Sound and northern inland waters.

The ruling will likely spark long-overdue dialogue and debate related to establishing limits on the amount and risk of industrial activities which threaten other economic and ecological interests associated with the marine resources of the Puget Sound region.

ACOE and BP have three options in responding to the latest court ruling. They can appeal the latest decision to the full eleven-member 9th Circuit Judiciary, or appeal directly to the U. S. Supreme Court. The third option is to await the district judges decisions and begin compliance with the orders associated with those findings.

Special recognition and thanks to Fred Felleman, executive director of Ocean Advocates, which acted as lead for the environmental coalition in these proceedings. Ocean Advocates is a Seattle-based non-profit organization and long- time advocate for the protection of Washington state marine resources. In response to the latest ruling, Felleman said, In Alaska, crude oil tankers only got safer after the massive tanker spill from the Exxon Valdez in 1989. Short of Puget Sound suffering that level of disaster, Felleman notes that the only chance were going to have to approach that level of safety and success is in a lawsuit like this.

Editors note: Kudos to Dave Schmalz for his untiring efforts on behalf of North Cascades Audubon

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Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest

May 7-9

The spectacular natural habitats of the Leavenworth area attract a wide variety of birds, from Calliope Humming-birds and Western Tanagers to Harlequin Ducks and White-headed Woodpeckers. The Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest provides educational and recreational activities on birds and wild-life for all ages. Enjoy a bird walk on Blackbird Island, birding activities for beginners, birding by boat, wildflower and geology walks, and music and art events. Events this year will include:

Concert by Danny OKeefe, well-known singer of Good Time Charlies Got the Blues.

Wood Duck Walk in cooperation with the Chelan County PUD.

Binocular workshop, including the use of binoculars and what to look for when purchasing them. Cool Bird Workshop.

Sunday picnic at the Leavenworth Audubon Center/Upper Valley Museum.

Bird photography.

Bird-banding workshops.

Owl prowl.

Birding by boat.

Eye to eye with a Peregrine Falcon.

Geology and wildflower walks.

Alpine to Arid Field Trips and Workshops.

Songbird Concert and Art Shows.

Activity tent for families.

For more info, check out the link for the fest at http://www.leavenworthspringbirdfest.com/events.htm.

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Brant Festival Redux

This years Second Annual Washington Brant Festival promised to be just that &#; the Second Annual Washington Brant Festival. In my research and countless queries to other festival organizers, promoters, etc., Ive come to understand that, like Rome, bird festivals arent built in a day. It takes time and the commitment and dedication of a lot of people to put together and keep together a successful festival.

For several years, fellow board members and I had been trying to start some sort of festival of our own. The first order of business was to find some bird to use as our festival symbol. Coincidentally, and just over two years ago, on a dark and stormy night, two strangers visited the monthly meeting of the NCAS Board of Directors. Maynard Axelson, president and founder of the Washington Brant Foundation and, Ben Welton, fundraiser extraordinaire, presented us not only with a bird, but also with an opportunity to become charter members of the brand-new Washington Brant Festival.

To utilize and paraphrase an overworked clich, the rest is soon to be a part of local history. NCAS and the Washington Brant Foundation have become partners in this endeavor and the second Brant festival is now behind us. We will continue to work together to make the festival a success and welcome all chapter members to become involved. Both organizations are open to suggestions as to how the festival can be improved and involve more local people in any number of opportunities.

For more information about the Washington Brant Foundation, visit their website at http://www.washingtonbrant.org.

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