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October 2009 Issue (vol 40, number 7)
      (Previous Issue September 2009) - (Next Issue November/December 2009)



October General Membership Meeting

Tuesday, October 27, 7:00 PM
Bellingham Public Library Lecture Room
PROGRAM: Volcanoes

Living in the Pacific Northwest means living in the shadow of active volcanoes. But what drives volcanic eruptions and what types of volcanic hazards are associated with different types of volcanoes? Dr. Peter Stelling will discuss the fundamentals of how volcanoes work and describe how volcano observatories read the signals from awakening volcanoes to monitor their activity and mitigate the risks to nearby communities.

Dr. Stelling earned his doctorate at the University of Alaska/Fairbanks where he studied the eruptive behavior of Aleutian volcanoes. Since 2006 he has been a member of the Geology Department at Western Washington University where he conducts research on Alaskan and Cascades volcanoes.

Join us for a fun, informative evening and remember that meetings of the North Cascades Audubon Society are FREE and open to the public. Invite a couple of friends to join you. Well save a seat for you and treats and hot beverages will be available.

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From the President

October. Just say the word a few times and see if it doesnt move something within. For me, October has become my personal mantra that I use to make my way through the dog days of summer, when the hot and dry weather seems to be getting the best of me. Even when I was growing up in south Louisiana, the tenth month saved our lives from the grinding heat and humidity of the previous six months! But I dont remember it being as difficult then, as it is now, to deal with hot weather. Maybe Ive truly become a Northwesterner.

When we were setting an all-time record high temperature in Bellingham this summer, I used my mantra to get to the other side. And here we are, feeling the sweetness of September rolling into October. We live in a beautiful part of the country and October brings out the best, be it the chill in the morning air or all the colors that shout the last hurrah before winter.

But lets not get too far ahead of ourselves. Theres still plenty of time to get up into the mountains to sample the outrageous colors and the succulent berries. On some trails you might have to compete with black bears, which have the right-of-way since they will be heading to their dens before long.

NCAS will try to keep you occupied with any number of activities through October and beyond. Stay tuned to these pages for updates and be sure to check our website occasionally for e-updates. Breaking news will be displayed there.

And you can always call me if you need to talk!

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Bellingham CBC

December 20

On the Sunday before Christmas, local bird-counting aficionados will spend the day rollicking over hill and dale participating in the worlds longest-running citizen science program the annual National Audubon Societys Christmas Bird Count (CBC). Nationally, the CBC has taken place since 1900, while the local version has been going strong since 1967.

Its always a good count, regardless of the weather, which adds a bit of spice to the conversations at the post-count potluck.

I will begin to make preliminary calls to last years party leaders sometime in early November. If youre interested in participating, call me at 739-5383 or if youd prefer, send me an e-mail at mechejmch@aol.com.

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NCAS Fall Field Trips

Paul Woodcock
NCAS Field Trip Chair

Autumn has arrived! There is a chill in the air as I write these lines but that chill only warms the heart of Northwest birders. It is time to get ready for what many birders feel is our most exciting birding season our time to study raptors, waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wintering migrants. The power and drama of nature are often most visible during fall and winter but this can also be a time to contemplate the more subtle aspects of our environment. Do not miss the opportunity to participate.

As always, if you have something to offer, please contact me at vp@northcascadesaudubon.org with your feedback, ideas, or to volunteer as a field trip leader. More good leaders will mean more great trips and more people learning about, appreciating, and caring for our natural environment.

NCAS field trips are open to all, members and non-members, FREE of charge. We often require advance registration with the field trip leader to limit the number of participants in order to reduce negative impacts and assure a quality experience for all. Participants should remember that warm clothing and rain gear are usually necessary in the field at this time of year.

Hope to see you out there! If you cannot participate in one of the following trips, make sure that you get out on your own whenever possible. Also, watch for more trip offerings next month.

Saturday, October 3. Semiahmoo Spit.

Bird the beaches at the only designated Important Bird Area in Whatcom County. These monthly trips are co-sponsored by NCAS and Whatcom County Parks. Semiahmoo is one of our areas most scenic, biologically-rich and environmentally-challenged places. We will see shorebirds October is outstanding for shorebirds waterfowl, and other seabirds, as well as raptors and songbirds. Meet at the county park at 9 AM. Trip leader: Paul Woodcock. No registration required.

Saturday, October 31. Samish Flats/Skagit Delta.

Join us on a Halloween day trip to one of the premier wintertime hawk and eagle watching areas of the Northwest. We will focus on ravens, hawks, falcons, eagles, and hopefully a few owls, but should see good numbers of shorebirds, waterfowl, and wintering passerines. After covering the Samish area, we will head south, as time and energy allow, to check Padilla Bay and the Skagit delta. 8 AM. Trip limit: 12. Trip leader: Paul Woodcock, 380-3356.

Saturday, November 7. Semiahmoo Spit.

Another edition of Birding the Beaches, like the October 3 trip described before, but every month is different. We will see fewer shorebirds but many more waterfowl. Join us!

Saturday, November 21. Blaine, Semiahmoo, Birch Bay, and Lake Terrell.

This trip will be a half-day tour of one of our favorite local birding spots and a few stops in between. Emphasis will be on ducks, shorebirds, gulls, and other seabirds, as well as raptors. Take binoculars, scopes if you have them, wind and rain gear, and a lunch or snacks as needed. No pre-registration is required. Meet to carpool at the southeast corner of the Sunset Square parking lot. Call Andrea at 734-9881 if you have any questions. 8:30 AM. Trip leaders: Andrea Warner and Joan Bird.

Saturday, December 3. Semiahmoo Spit.

This is another edition of Birding the Beaches. See the previous two first-Saturday walks for details, but keep in mind that every month is different so please come out and join us!

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Urban Bird Walk

The first time we did this walk proved to be successful enough to merit another try. This fall and winter, Id like to be consistent with a walk every month, starting in October. This will be an easy stroll from the courtyard next to the downtown Parkade on Commercial Street. Well meander the city streets, keeping an eye out for raptors, and make our way down to Whatcom Creek behind the post office. From there, well follow the creek downstream to see whats in the basin where the creek flows into Bellingham Bay. After checking for loons and grebes and other arrivals, well cross over to the opposite side of the creek and work our way upstream to the State Street Bridge. Well return to the Parkade and call it a good day....regardless!

The plan is to meet at 9:45 AM on Sunday, October 18. Well leave at 10 AM. Ill let those who attend know when the next months walk will be and Ill also post it in the Avalanche. If youd like to be part of this urban expedition, call me at 739-5383 or email me at mechejmch@aol.com.

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NCAS Annual Holiday Potluck

December 15
Lila Emmer
Board Member at Large

Please come and enjoy our annual holiday get together. NCAS will provide the setting: the Lairmont Manor. But you will need to provide a potluck contribution as well as your preferred beverage and utensils for you and your guest(s).

This year we are very fortunate in that the local singing group, Calyx, has offered to entertain us!

Mark the date on your calendar: Tuesday, December 15, 6-10 PM.

If you have any questions or need directions, call Lila at 201-6486.

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NCAS Bluebird Trail

Joe Meche
Birding Programs Coordinator

Paul Woodcock and I have been discussing the possibility of creating a trail of nesting boxes in the western part of the county. Following the concept of build it and they will come, were considering a rough draft for a layout of boxes to attract Western Bluebirds, primarily along Lake Terrell Road between Slater and Mountain View Roads.

A couple of the industries in the area have expressed an interest in providing funding for such a project and would allow us the necessary use of their property for installing, monitoring, and maintaining the boxes. And thats where you come in.

At this point, wed like to know how many people might be interested in participating in the project. Help will be needed in the field to make this work. Call or e-mail Paul or me if youd like to join us. Our numbers can be found on page 2 and our e-mail can be accessed through the chapter web site. We know there are bluebirds out there looking for nesting cavities and we can provide them....with a little help from our friends.

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Bellingham Parks Volunteer Fall Work Parties

Lend a hand on Saturdays this fall keeping Bellingham parks and trails green. We provide the gloves, tools, and directions.

Squalicum Creek Park

October 3, 10-AM-Noon

South Bay Trail

October 3, 1 PM-3 PM

Bloedel-Donovan Park

October 10, 10 AM-Noon

Padden Creek Trail

October 10, 1 PM-3 PM

Whatcom Creek Trail

October 31, 9 AM-Noon

Woodstock Farm

November 7, 10 AM-Noon

Racine Trail

November 21, 9 AM-Noon

If youre interested in participating in any of these work parties, contact Rae Edwards, Bellingham Parks Volunteer Coordinator, at 778-7105.

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NCAS Programs 2009-10

The NCAS Programs Committee continues to line up a variety of programs to enlighten, inform, and entertain at our monthly chapter meetings.

Septembers opening program was well attended and thoroughly entertaining. On Page 1 of this issue, you find details for this months program.

The following programs will take us right up to the last gathering in May. Gee, it seems like the year just flew past!

November. Paul Bannick.

Author and acclaimed photographer Paul Bannick will dazzle us with his spectacular photographs of owls and woodpeckers.

December: Holiday Potluck at the Lairmont.

January: Northwest Seismology.

Connecting the thread with our October program about volcanoes, Jackie-Caplan Auerbach will tell us what to expect from our tectonic plates!

February: TBA

March: Grizzly Bear Program, more info TBA.

April: Dr. Robin Mathews.

Join us for an update on the status on the water quality of Lake Whatcom.

May: Matt Fisher.

An NCAS grant recipient, Matt Fisher, will update us on his research project on moths.

As time draws near for these programs, check here and on our web site for full details.

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David Sibley Returns to Village Books

David Sibley has expanded his focus to include his new field guide to trees. You might say that hes turned over a new leaf with the Sibley Guide to Trees. Join your fellow tree huggers for a slide presentation as David promotes his new book at Village Books, at 7 PM on October 15.

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