Thanks to Chris Reid for this month's banner photo.
Have a happy summer, y'all!

There are no chapter meetings in June and July.  It appears that we might just be able to have in-person meetings at the Yakima Area Arboretum starting in August. The YVAS Board of Directors will be meeting in early August and will discuss it. Check the August Calliope Crier for more news.
Thanks for renewing your membership!
Lawrence Martin, Jan and Judy Gano, Karen Ireland, Marcia Shotwell, Dan and Eileen Kinney, Connie Hughes, Michael and Kimberly Lawler, Bruce and Diane Crockett
July 10 (Sat) -- White Pass/Leech Lake Hike  Meet leaders Andy and Ellen Stepniewski at 8:00 a.m. in Yakima, return by mid-afternoon.  Escape Yakima’s July heat with a birding trip up to White Pass. We’ll take a walk around Leech Lake. This modest hike (1.5 miles) features wet subalpine forests, willow-lined streams, marshy edges, and open lake. We’ll seek out bird species tied to upper elevation forests in the Cascades such as Barrow’s Goldeneye, Osprey, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Vaux’s Swift, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Pacific Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Varied thrush, warblers such as Orange-crowned, Yellow-rumped, Townsend’s and Wilson’s, and sparrows such as Dark-eyed Junco, Fox, and White-crowned, then finches such as Cassin’s, and Pine Siskin. Contact Andy and Ellen ( for meeting location.  Bring a lunch, fluids for the day, don’t forget sun and insect protection, and dress for the weather.
Field Trip to Yakama Nation
Zimmerman Property Tallies 35 Species
Savannah Sparrow at the Zimmerman Property
Photo by Kerry Turley

On Saturday April 24, 2021, eight dauntless YVAS members traipsed through the Zimmerman wetlands along Marion Drain Road. Despite cloudy, cool conditions that threatened rain, we tallied a respectable 35 species.

Highlights of the half-day field trip included an unexpected Peregrine Falcon that posed on the top of a dead tree branch offering everyone a good look through the scope. Also of note were calling Virginia Rail, winnowing Wilson’s Snipe that seemed to be everywhere, Bald Eagle, the ever-present Marsh Wrens, Savannah Sparrow, and several chatty little Common Yellowthroat.

Conditions were dryer than expected which kept waterfowl numbers down. No Cinnamon Teal or Ring-necked Ducks, which are normally found here, were seen. Other obvious misses included Black-necked stilt, American Avocet, American Bittern and the Sandhill Cranes, that were there the week before, but not on this day.  

The Zimmerman Farm was restored by the Yakama Nation and is closed to the public except by special permit and then is only open on Wednesdays and weekends.

Zimmerman wetlands with Mt. Adams in the background
Photo by Kerry Turley
Mark Nuetzmann, Wildlife Biologist
Yakama Nation
June 14, 2021
Hello Mark,
The Yakima Valley Audubon Society endorses the Yakama Nation proposal for research into topics in subalpine and alpine areas of the Yakama Nation. With climate change, the subalpine ecosystem may well be driven upslope on Mt. Adams, at a pace faster than alpine plant communities can colonize the recent lava flows that characterize the mountain, thus jeopardizing habitat for the focal species in this project, such as white-tailed ptarmigan, Cascade red fox, wolverine, and mountain goat, among others. All species have very restricted habitat requirements. For example, the Yakima Valley Audubon Society has, for the past 20 years or so, undertaken searches for white-tailed ptarmigan in Yakima County without success, though the species is well-documented from Mt. Rainier, just to the northwest of Mt. Adams, the area of the Yakama Nation’s primary interest. One year we searched on Mt. Adams, though not in the area of a credible recent report at the Climber's Camp on the southeast slopes. We are thus excited at the prospect our interest in ptarmigan is shared by the Yakama Nation.
In addition to willow thickets, we might suggest a focus on alder (Alnus sp.) thickets, particularly (Alnus sinuata ) in avalanche chutes, as potential winter habitat.
In addition to the ptarmigan study, we also endorse research into whitebark pine, an imperiled keystone species throughout its range in western North America. Halting the decline of this species (by blister rust and pine beetle infestations) is of paramount importance to preserving alpine ecology in the region, especially for Clark’s nutcracker. Since the Yakama Nation first proposed this research in 2017, this species of jay has declined precipitously along the east slopes of the Cascsdes in south-central Washington to the point where there are only a handful of recent reports, as chronicled in eBird. The decline of this species in this region may well be tied to the massive die-off of whitebark pine, making the Yakima Nation’s proposed study all the more imperative.
Mountain goats are another interesting element in the alpine zone in this region. Loss of their habitat due to changes in the subalpine and alpine ecosystems brought on by warming climate are yet another reason for prompt research as proposed by the Yakama Nation.
Too, we also support investigations in to snowmobile trespassing as disturbance to alpine wildlife and ecosystems may be heightened in the long winter months, perhaps triggering the need for stricter surveillance of this recreation form.
If successful in obtaining the grant, Yakima Auduboners would be excited, too, in participating in these projects, as the need arises.
Andy Stepniewski
Yakima Valley Audubon Society Conservation Chair
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