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Red Tails Nov/Dec 2023

Download a PDF of the newsletter here!

Red Tails News Letter Nov Dec 2023-1
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CBAS Bird Walk Report by Margaret Heming

August 26, 2023, Bird Walk at Potholes State Park

Paula Zanter-Stout, Shiraz Vira, Stella Harer and I had a productive and fun bird walk at the state park. But only Shiraz saw the Marbled Gotwit that birders had been flocking to the beach to see. We saw two Western Grebes, three American Coots, four White Pelicans, one Western Wood-pewee, one Red-breasted Nuthatch, two House Finches, one Great Egret, and two Hooded Mergansers. The park has been very popular with birders

during migration, with lots of shorebirds on the beach. Some of us are planning to visit the park in the wintertime to see the Bald Eagles Paula told us about.

September 23, 2023, Bird Walk at North Potholes Reserve

Five of us had fun birding at the North Potholes Reserve: Gayle Talbot, Jackie Chase, Shiraz, Paula and myself. We all enjoyed the donuts that Shiraz brought for us again! Bird highlights included seeing Sandhill Cranes, Red-tailed Hawks, a Bald Eagle, lots of Meadowlarks and Great Egrets, and hearing Bewick Wrens and Song Sparrows. Through the bird blind, we got to watch a Mule Deer family. There were a lot of people fishing! A year ago, we saw lots of shorebirds here. This time the low water level and the weather must have discouraged those birds from the area. We identified a total of 15 species, including possible Cassin’s Finches, a rare find for this area at this time. Three of us continued on to check out a new viewing area a bit east of the Reserve, where we saw many Great Egrets! This looks like a

likely location for a Bird Walk in the future. Watch for info about our six 2024 Bird Walks; usually the last Saturday of the month, April through September. More details will be at, and on

our Facebook page “Central Basin Audubon Society.”

From the Desk of the President

From the Desk of the President: Thank you!

October has been our CBAS Scholarship Campaign month for many years. We do so appreciate and thank all of our members and friends for your contributions! I am sorry if some of you received more than one letter asking for a donation for college education scholarships. We need to review the past donor list for sure, since the letters were sent out at two different times. See the article on page 6

I want to give a huge Thank You to Margaret Heming for representing our chapter at ACOW! See her report in this issue, along with photos and other articles! Margaret is our CBAS Field Trip leader, one of our experts and photographers on our Facebook page, and so much more!

We all want to publicly thank our graphic design school KTEC! These young high school students are learning valuable skills and we get a huge discount

in printing our newsletter and are so grateful! When I missed a big error in my proof-reading the last issue, the teacher reprinted plenty of corrected

issues for us to re-mail. If you would like a corrected issue mailed to you, call or email me or a board member.

Finally, as the holiday season begins, I want to thank ALL of our board members for all they do. I especially want to thank John Moody, Twila Herrin, and Margaret Schiffner, for our Scholarship Campaign! Also, we are sad to say good-bye to Jacob Towne but excited for his new opportunities in Sacramento, CA! Note that there is no Board Meeting in December,

and January is dependent on mild weather.

CBAS Conservation Project by Margaret Heming

CBAS Conservation Project, September 23, 2023, North Potholes Reserve

Thanks to Paula Zanter-Stout for spearheading the clean-up project we executed at North Potholes Reserve. Last time we were there, it was difficult to walk along the boardwalk to the bird blind, due to overgrown plants blocking the way. We brought gloves and pruning shears and got the walkway cleared in time to see a Mule Deer family from the blind! There was also a lot of garbage on and around the dike area. Paula brought garbage bags and picked up lots of trash. We are hoping to get the “Important Birding Area” sign replaced, as it has bullet holes in it. The big sign at the entrance could use some work too. We’re thinking it should look more like the informational signs in the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, with typical species seen at the Reserve and info about wildlife habitat, etc. We have some clear goals regarding conservation and education to work on. We want to show our pride in the beautiful wild habitat in our area.

ACOW 2023 Audubon Council of WA 9/29 - 10/1,

Mountaineer Program Center by Margaret Heming

This was my first ACOW! I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed representing the Central Basin Audubon Society. Most of the 25 Washington State chapters were represented at the meeting. ACOW was

hosted by the King County region in Seattle. The venue was the Seattle Mountaineer Program Center. It was interesting to see the various climbing

walls at the center. The ACOW event is a gathering of Audubon chapter leaders from across the state to network, exchange ideas, and learn about Audubon’s conservation, science, and EDIB (Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging) work across the state.

Trina Bayard, Audubon Washington Director of Bird Conservation, and Brynn Brady, lobbyist, shared some of the accomplishments of the organization this past year. Three bills important to Audubon were passed by our state legislature: HB 1181 (Planning for Climate Change), HB 1216 (Clean Energy Siting), SB 5104 (Surveying Puget Sound Marine Shoreline Habitat). The WDFW (Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife) got a big increase in the state budget and will be able to fund 25 new biologist positions in the state. These successes will be good for birds and other wildlife.

Seth Hulett is the new Audubon Washington Senior Program Manager for the Columbia Plateau. He introduced himself to me on Friday and expressed a keen interest in meeting with our chapter to discuss the goals for our area and to get to know us. Audubon Advocacy Days are in Olympia December 4th – 8th. This is a chance to contact our state representatives and senators to express our concerns about habitat and other vital conservation/environmental issues. Friday ended with a presentation by author Rebecca Heisman. Her book is titled Flight Paths: How a Passionate and Quirky Group of Pioneering Scientists Solved the Mystery of Bird Migration. Based on her talk, I highly recommend this book.

On Saturday, Ursula Valdez, a University of Washington researcher, presented “Birds of the Amazon.” She does research in the Southeast Peruvian Rainforest. Eight South American countries are a part of the Amazon area. The big threats to birds in Southeast Peru are mining, ranching, and fires. Ursula’s photos and explanations were very educational. Next, attendees did an interactive exercise to share chapter successes and worries. Chapter representatives showed lots of pride in their chapters’ work regarding education, conservation, and youth programs. Concerns included budget, climate crisis, conflicts and EDIB issues.

Audubon’s new 2023 strategic plan is called “Flight Plan.” The goal is for Audubon to be an important conservation innovator for the decades ahead. Birds need the same healthy environments and conditions that we need to thrive. They are the sentinels for healthy lands, waters, and communities. When birds are in trouble, we are in trouble.

ACOW’s final event was the Sunday morning bird walk. The two choices were Juanita Bay Park in Kirkland and Union Bay Natural Area near UW Husky stadium. I joined the guides at Juanita Bay, where we saw/heard 42 species. The highlights for me were the pair of Belted Kingfishers, fifteen Bushtits, the Fox Sparrow, and the 54 Wood Ducks! One of our guides estimated there were 350 American Coots. All in all, the ACOW was an enlightening experience.

Annual Ron Van Nurden Scholarship Drive by Margaret Schiffner

On October 6, we sent out letters requesting donations for our annual Ron Van Nurden Memorial Scholarship fund. The money received will ensure that CBAS will be able to continue supporting young scholars. The scholarships for high school seniors are renewable. We select students

whose goals include involvement in conservation science, habitat restoration and maintenance, and protection of our wildlife and their habitats for future generations. Thank you for any amount you are able to give.

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