Once-common marine birds disappearing from our coast – Seattle Times

For many years I’ve been commenting to friends that I felt I’ve seen a substantial drop in shorebirds around Port Townsend, and on the coast in general. It appears I unfortunately may be correct.

“Scoters down 75% from the 1970’s. Murres have dropped even more. Western Grebes have mostly vanished…”

Craig Welch reports for the Seattle Times.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2024155783_birddeclinesxml.html

BirdNote: Woodpeckers as Keystone Species

Woodpeckers – including this Northern Flicker – are master carpenters of the bird world. They’re called “keystone species” for their crucial role in creating habitat suited to other woodland wildlife. Abandoned woodpecker nest-holes become nests or roosts for small owls, cavity-nesting ducks, swifts, bluebirds, swallows, wrens, and other birds, as well as many small mammals.
http://birdnote.org/show/woodpeckers-keystone-species

BirdNote: Monitoring the Health of Coastal Raptors

If you like to listen: “Since 1995, biologist Dan Varland, Executive Director of Coastal Raptors, has been monitoring the health of raptors on the Washington coast, where Peregrine Falcons stoop on shorebirds feeding along the tideline…”
http://birdnote.org/show/monitoring-health-coastal-raptors

Battle over use of Dungeness Spit National Wildlife Refuge brewing

Washington State Representative Kevin Van De Wege of the 24th Legislative District has threatened legislation revoking federal control of Dungeness Spit. This in response to a proposed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conservation plan that would ban all jogging and horseback riding on the Dungeness Spit and nearby upland trails, Rep. Van De Wege (D-Sequim) is looking into legislation allowing the state to retake control of part of the spit.

While we understand that jogging and horseback riding are not normally thought as being incompatible with a ‘park’, a gentle reminder is that this refuge was not set up as a standard ‘park’, such as Fort Worden, but as a wildlife refuge’, to protect specific birds that were nesting there. It was established in 1915 for the specific purpose of protecting nesting shorebirds. The refuge was not created to help people jog or horseback ride. To repeat, it is not a “park” it is a refuge.

There apparently was an incident last year between a horse and a pedestrian that has led to this current situation. The person had serious injuries. Whether this refuge is suitable for horse riding is certainly a separate and debatable issue.

We believe that Representative Van De Wege, who was elected with great help from the environmental community, should sit down and work with Olympic Audubon to forge a plan to help the horse community and the refuge come to a solution. It may be that jogging may have to be rerouted around a more workable situation, and an educational program for the community be mounted to help people understand the purpose of this ’wildlife refuge.”

Eleanor Stopps – In her own words

Eleanor Stopps passed away today, after a short illness. She was attended to by hospice. I think it time we brought out the unpublished interview Mountainstone Productions shot of her as part of “Voices of the Strait”. Video will follow, but takes quite a bit longer to get right.

Eleanor talks about her life, and how she came to protect Protection Island. Interview by Betsy Wharton and Jo Anne Bailey.

Downloads allowed. However, no commercial use of this audio track is allowed without written permission. Please contact mountainstoneproductions AT gmail.com for use questions (replace the AT with @ as usual)

http://soundcloud.com/mountainstone/eleanor-stopps-in-her-own

EVENT CANCELED- “Sea of Birds” lecture on March 24

Julia Parrish, Executive Director of COASST, will discuss “Sea of Birds: Population Patterns of Washington’s Coastal Residents and Migrants” at the March 21 Olympic Peninsula Audubon general meeting at the Dungeness River Audubon Center, beginning at 7 pm.

COASST training will be held Saturday, March 24, 10 am – 4 pm at the Feiro Marine Life Center. Please see attached flyer for details.

Treats and coffee provided; rsvp: 206-221-6893 or coasst@uw.edu

Cathy

Feds looking to expand protection of Plover

The pressures continue to mount for wildlife due to the rapid heating of our planet. The federal government now wants to expand the protection of the Snowy Plover to try and save it, as their numbers dwindle.
———————————-
Feds want to double nesting areas for shorebird
JEFF BARNARD

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to double the amount of West Coast beaches protected for a threatened shorebird in anticipation that sea levels will be rising due to global warming.

The proposal announced Monday would expand critical habitat designations for the western snowy plover in California, Oregon and Washington to a total of 68 units covering more than 28,000 acres.

Biologists estimate the snowy plover numbers no more than 2,270 individuals. Its numbers have declined as the bare sandy dunes where it lays its eggs were developed and covered with European beach grass, which makes the nests more vulnerable to predators.

The proposal also calls for expanding protected beaches to give the birds room to move into new nesting areas.

More at
http://www.theolympian.com/2011/03/21/1587807/feds-want-to-double-nesting-areas.html

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