Years ago we were in the Columbia Basin area to find Sandhill Cranes and were fortunate enough to see thousands of them. A few photos from that trip are included in our book, A Kid’s Guide to Birding. The natural landscape there is spectacular on its own, but with huge numbers of cranes, it was like something you would only imagine existing in the earlier days of exploration.
So when an invitation to speak at the festival came from the organizers in Othello, we were more than happy to head back out to the area.
So let me tell you about this festival. It is fantastic! The festival’s organizers put a lot of effort and careful planning into the event. There were regular scheduled buses and vans taking people out to the best wildlife viewing areas (which also included private agricultural areas) as well as areas of geological interest. Breakfast was served on Saturday and there was a Banquet in the evening along with one of the keynote speakers. All the speakers had impressive credentials and did great presentations. There were displays, book sales, and more. But what impressed me the most was the incredible community involvement, with both young and old involved in all sorts of ways. I was beginning to wonder if there was a town ordinance that required everyone to be involved, because it seemed like everyone and every organization had some role in helping the event come together.
So make plans to be there for the next one, the “20th annual” Sandhill Crane Festival in 2017. But book early because when we tried, ever hotel in the area was fully booked!
This was an unexpected siting. A Western Scrub Jay, well out of its usual range, in Seattle. I’ve included a photo of a Steller’s Jay which was in the same tree just so you can compare the blues. The Stellers is much brighter.
Lorenzo leading Tahoma Audubon’s Kid’s Expedition Day 2013 Birdathon Field Trip. Despite the rainy forecast, we had 10 enthusiastic briders come out to participate. Which was great because got to see a lot of great bird species on the trip:
Brown Tree Creeper
Cedar Wax wings
Common Yellow Throat
Great Blue Harons
Great Horned Owl
Lorenzo explaining birding to a very enthusiastic class of 2nd-graders. The next presentation will be May 18th for Eastside Audubon Society, then May 25th at Camano Island State Park (CISP amphitheater, 7:30), then May 27th a guided birding walk (Audubon fundraiser) at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (8:00 am – 11 am)
Our garden always has an abundance of Chestnut-backed Chickadees, who share the habitat all year round with Black-capped Chickadees, Nuthatches, Bushtits, and Juncos. So we have always assumed they must be making nest cavities close by.
This year, a pair have taken to a hole in our dogwood tree. They are using a hole started by Norther Flickers, and in fact it is only a few inches about the nest cavity that was actually used last year by the Northern Flickers. So what happens if the Northern Flickers return? Maybe we will find out.
Here’s a video of the Chestnut-backed-Chickadee working hard on the nest cavity: