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May 2010 Issue (vol 41, number 5)
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General Membership Meeting

Tuesday, May 25, 7:00 PM
Fairhaven Public Library Auditorium
PROGRAM: Logging, Moths, and Biodiversity in Conifer Forests; Results from a Northwest Washington Study

Matt Fisher will present research that assesses the impact of logging on moth communities in northwest Washington forests. Moths are an ecologically important group of organisms and are surprisingly abundant and diverse in these forests, with several hundred different species in NW Washington alone. Understanding changes in moth communities following logging might allow for insight into larger trends in biodiversity.

Matt Fisher is currently a candidate for a Master’s degree in biology at Western Washington University. He grew up in Salem, Oregon, and graduated from the University of Oregon in 2003. He worked at Oregon Wild, a non-profit forest conservation organization based in Portland, before moving to Bellingham in 2007.

Join us for an informative evening and remember that meetings of the North Cascades Audubon Society are FREE and open to the public, so invite a couple of friends to join you. We’ll save a seat for you and treats and hot beverages will be available.

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From the President

Here we are, once again, on the edge of that seasonal precipice better known as....summer! Where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday we were making plans for our holiday potluck, and here comes summer. I can only hope, in the true spirit of that old adage, that we’ve been having fun!

The month of May will be one of the busier months on the NCAS calendar with the usual assortment of things to do before we can take a bit of a break. Of course, the idea of taking a break is only wishful thinking because we have summer things to do, as well! Just remember to stay connected. We’re here if you need us!

On behalf of the entire Board of Directors of NCAS, have a wonderful summer and come back and see us in September.


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Annual Election of Officers

In accordance with the bylaws of our chapter, each May at our monthly meeting, we elect officers for the coming year for the following board positions: president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. Our bylaws stipulate that these positions have the following functions:

President: Coordinates all phases of the chapter and acts as its executive head.

Vice President: Assists the president in the execution of all duties.

Secretary: Keeps a record of all proceedings of the Board of Directors (BOD), preserves all correspondence relating to the chapter, and maintains all chapter files.

Treasurer: Manages and disburses the chapter funds as may be ordered by the BOD, prepares monthly reports which are presented to the board at their regular meetings, and is responsible for preparing a proposed budget prior to the annual BOD budget meeting.

Our nominating committee and board present the following candidates:

• President: Joe Meche — incumbent,

• Vice President: No candidate,

• Secretary: No candidate, and

• Treasurer: Pam Borso — incumbent.

We are currently searching for candidates for Vice President and Secretary. If you would like to become more involved in the activities of the chapter, please contact any current board member for more information. At the May membership meeting, we will also entertain other nominations for any officer position from the membership.

The vote will take place at this month’s membership meeting, so don’t miss it!

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NCAS Spring Field Trips

Paul Woodcock
NCAS Field Trip Chair

As I write these words, Yellow-rumped Warblers are singing in the big Douglas firs around my neighborhood and male Rufous Hummingbirds are performing their mating flights among the blooming salmonberries in the back yard. The neotropical migrants are returning and we are entering one of our most exciting birding seasons. Please take time out to join us on one of our spring outings. You will not be disappointed. Note that a few new trips have been added since last month.

NCAS field trips are open to all who wish to attend, FREE of charge. We limit the number of participants on many of our trips to minimize environmental impact and to assure a quality experience; therefore, advance registration is often required. Carpooling is encouraged and we urge all passengers to share expenses with those who drive. Please call Paul at 380-3356 if you have any questions or suggestions for future trips or would like to volunteer to be a trip leader.

Saturday, May 1. Semiahmoo Spit.

Join us to Bird the Beaches of Semiahmoo Bay and Drayton Harbor, the only designated Important Bird Area in Whatcom County. These half-day trips, on the first Saturday of each month, are co-sponsored by NCAS and Whatcom County Parks. Semiahmoo is one of our area’s most scenic, biologically-rich, and environmentally-challenged places. We will see concentrations of shorebirds, waterfowl, and other seabirds, as well as raptors and songbirds. Meet the group at 9 AM at Semiahmoo Park. Trip leader: Paul Woodcock. No registration required.

Saturday, May 8. Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve.

This will be a half-day trip to one of our new county parks. It is an excellent place to find resident and migrant birds of the forest, fields, and shore. Expect to find flycatchers, vireos, warblers, and tanagers in the woodlands and loons, scoters, and guillemots out on the water, plus eagles and other raptors.

7:30 AM. Trip limit: 12. Trip leader: John Horner, 676-6029.

Friday, May 14 - Sunday, May 16; 3rd Annual NCAS Dungeness Weekend Campout.

See page 4 for details.

Saturday, May 22. Birding the Chuckanuts.

This 4-5 hour hike to Fragrance Lake is co-sponsored by the Chuckanut Conservancy. It will be a hike of moderate difficulty, approximately 5 miles round trip, with a 1,000 foot elevation gain. We will find dozens of migratory and resident species that depend on the lakes, streams, forests, snags, cliffs, and meadows of the Chuckanut Mountains. 7:30 AM. Trip limit: 12. Trip leaders: Ken Wilcox and Paul Woodcock. Please register through the Chuckanut Conservancy website at www.chuckanutconservancy.org. The conservancy is requesting a $5 donation for this trip.

Sunday, May 23. Whatcom Creek Walk.

We’ll walk both sides of Whatcom Creek in the heart of downtown. We’ll amble downstream to its mouth and check for birds in the Whatcom Waterway. Then, we’ll return upstream on the opposite side of the creek to get a better view of what we might have missed. The meeting place will be in front of city hall. 10 AM. Trip limit: 12. Trip leader: Joe Meche. If you’d like to be part of this urban expedition, call Joe at 739-5383 or send an e-mail to mechejmch@aol.com.

This will be the last creek walk until September. Odds are great that we’ll see nesting birds and possibly even some young of the year. These walks are planned to remain consistent with previous walks.

Saturday, June 5. Semiahmoo Spit.

Semiahmoo trips will continue on the first Saturday of each month throughout the summer. Details are the same as previous trips.

Saturday, June 12. 5th Annual Woodstock Farm and Chuckanut Bay Breeding Bird Survey.

Once again, NCAS and Bellingham City Parks are co-sponsoring this dawn to midday bird count of Woodstock and its surroundings. Experience helps but if you just wish to join us for the experience, please feel free to sign up. We usually find 50-60 species in the varied habitats of Woodstock Farm and the bay. 6 AM. Trip limit: 12. Trip leader: Paul Woodcock, 380-3356.

Saturday, July 3. Semiahmoo Spit.

See previous trips for details.

Saturday, August 7. Semiahmoo Spit.

See previous trips for details.

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3rd Annual NCAS Dungeness Campout

May 14-16

The enthusiasm generated by our first two ventures to the Olympic peninsula indicates that we need to carry on, so we have begun the process to continue what is certain to become an NCAS tradition. We have reserved the group campsite at the Clallam County Park at the Dungeness Recreation Area, just above the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.

This is a fantastic place for bird watching and beach-combing and we’ll be able to combine the two into one package. The group campsite is roomy enough for as many as 40 campers, so sign up early to reserve a spot. On our two previous trips, we had good weather, although some might disagree as to what exactly constitutes good weather. To that I say that even bad weather is better than no weather at all. Nothing tops off a good day of birding and camaraderie like a good campfire and a bit of live, acoustic music — and we’ll have both!

I will lead two field trips over the weekend. On Saturday, we’ll hike onto to the Dungeness Spit and out to the historic Dungeness Lighthouse. The round trip to the lighthouse covers approximately 11 miles and there’s potential for good birds all along the way. The highlight just before we reach our destination is the large nesting colony of Caspian Terns. There might be as many as 750 breeding pairs on the adjacent Graveyard Spit, well within viewing range. Last year, we had an extra bonus when a Peregrine Falcon came by and caused every tern to take flight at once. Tern pandemonium!

On Sunday morning, we’ll have sufficient cups of coffee with breakfast as we strike camp and head for the Dungeness River Audubon Center. The habitat at the center and the birds we’ll see there and along the Railroad Bridge Trail will be in perfect contrast to those we’ll experience on the spit.

We encourage carpooling and tent camping, but there will be space in the parking area for a few small RVs/campers. In addition to the fee that we’ve paid for the group site, we will collect an additional $5 per camper for each night you plan to stay. This is a wonderful place to spend a weekend birding, relaxing, and socializing with your NCAS cohorts. If you’d like to join in the fun, call Joe Meche at 739-5383 or send an e-mail to mechejmch@aol.com.

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Birdathon 2010

Join in the Fun!

Once again, we will try to revitalize one of our favorite fundraisers to start off the new decade. Birdathon offers a unique opportunity to get out and enjoy our spring birds and raise funds to help in chapter projects throughout the year.

The rules are simple: select any 24-hour period during the month of May to go out and count birds. You can do it solo or you can put together a team to accomplish this feat. Prior to your time in the field, you (and your team) collect pledges from friends, family, and co-workers to support your efforts.

In the past, some have chosen to pledge a certain amount per species observed while others support by pledging a fixed amount. Either way, you have fun and enjoy the challenge of finding birds wherever you choose to spend your 24-hour period.

If you’re interested in participating or would like to have more information about the Birdathon, you can call Joe Meche at 739-5383 or send an e-mail to mechejmch@aol.com.

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NCAS Volunteer Opportunities

We are always looking for volunteers to help out with our mission in the community. Currently, we have specific needs in the following areas:

Program Chair. Would you like to help us plan future programs? We are looking for an individual to help us organize our monthly programs. This is a board position, and you will have a lot of help from other board members in carrying out the duties of the position.

Scudder Pond Steward. Do you find yourself in the area of Scudder Pond from time to time — possibly walking your dog, walking with friends, or observing wildlife? We are looking for one or more individuals to report to us on a more-or-less monthly basis regarding conditions at the pond, such as environmental disturbances, invasive species, litter, etc. This is not necessarily a board position, but could be if desired.

If you are interested in either of these positions or have questions, please contact us at info@northcascadesaudubon.org. We would love to hear from you.

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Backyard Habitat & Native Flora Fair

Fairhaven Village Green
May 8, 10AM-4PM

Want to see some wildlife? Have fun learning how to create wildlife habitat in your own backyard. Join the celebration as Bellingham is certified as a Wildlife Community Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation. Bellingham is the seventh community in Washington state to receive this honor and 37th in the nation.

Events to keep you busy include the following:

• Native plant sale.

• Guided walks.

• Presentations on native plants and backyard habitat


• Free backyard habitat garden tour — pick up a map at the fair.

• Information booths and displays on bird-friendly nesting boxes, weeds, creating wildlife habitat.

This event is sponsored by Bellingham Parks & Recreation, North Cascades Audubon Society, and the Komo Kulshan Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society.

For more information, contact Rae Edwards at 778-7105, or Molly Porter at 714-0781.

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