From Our Treasurer: Simple Pleasures

Talking with a longtime friend on a warm evening in early September, I discovered he had never seen the Vaux’s Swifts entering the chimney at the Old Condon School near Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus. The building with the chimney is now called Agate Hall. If you haven’t yet seen the swifts descending into the chimney to roost each evening for a couple of weeks in September and again in April as they migrate through, be sure to put it on your bucket list of birding events. See next April’s Quail for details on Lane County Audubon’s “gatherings” celebrating their spring migration.

The next day, my friend, his wife, and I headed to the chimney, and happened upon a couple of other Audubon folks there doing “citizen science,” counting the number of swifts entering their temporary roost as they migrated south in the fall. There were also a few neighborhood residents who had dropped by to witness the spectacle. It was near sunset, and our small group of observers enjoyed an easy conviviality, sharing our enthusiasm and wonder.

The swifts didn’t disappoint. They began circling right before sunset and gradually increased in numbers until they filled the sky, circling the chimney like a tornado, getting ready to retire for the night.

Conservation Column: Roadside Spray

Roadside herbicide spraying has long been a controversial issue in Lane County, and that hasn’t changed.

Lane County served as a model for environmental stewardship when it banned roadside herbicide spraying in 2008 in response to community concerns. Mowing and other mechanical/manual techniques have proven largely effective at managing our county roadsides since then. Unfortunately, inadequate funding has negatively impacted that effectiveness, so a task force was convened in 2015 to deal with the problem. While some members of the task force were reportedly skeptical about lifting the moratorium on herbicides, they understood the need for addressing problem areas. As a result, ordinance 16-07 was passed in July 2016. The task force recommended several well-considered measures to protect and inform the public while allowing for limited use of herbicide spray.

Most of the problem areas relate to guardrails that are not easily reached by mowers.

Third Saturday Bird Walk - November 18, 2017 8 a.m.

Please join us this Saturday morning for our monthly 3rd Saturday bird walk! This month's walk will be led by John Sullivan at Mt. Pisgah. Meet in the South Eugene High School parking lot (near 19th and Patterson) at 8am to carpool, or meet at the main parking lot at Pisgah around 8:20. There is a parking fee, $4 for the day, there is a pay box. See Mt Pisgah website for details. Feel free to call or text Rebecca at (541)653-3354 with any questions.

Date: 
Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 8:00am
Location: 
Mt Pisgah - meet at South Eugene HS

Welcome New LCAS Board Member, Rachael Friese

We want to welcome Rachael Friese to the Lane Audubon Board! Rachael has been involved with our organization as the Audubon Adventures coordinator since spring of 2016. She is excited about birding and cares deeply about the value of environmental education for her children and all children.

Rachael’s Self-introduction
Hello! I’m Rachael Friese and when I’m not too busy being a wife and mom, I’m also the Audubon Adventures coordinator for LCAS. I’m happy to join the board and continue my efforts to protect birds through education and conservation. My interest in birds was sparked by a pair of Western Screech Owls only four years ago and I haven’t put my binoculars down since!

Tuesday, November 28 Program Meeting: Birding the Border Country: Lake, Harney, Washoe & Humboldt Counties

Among the most remote regions in the western United States, northwestern Nevada and adjacent southeastern Oregon (the border country) offer outstanding and largely unheralded birding opportunities. Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge is a familiar hotspot to many Oregon birders, but nearby Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada is nearly twice as large and offers outstanding birding prospects as well. And the lands along the edges of Sheldon—on and near the Oregon/Nevada border—expand the opportunities even further for people who love wild lands and wildlife.

Within this vast desert landscape, little-known gorges echo with the call of Canyon Wrens, Greater Sage-Grouse swarm to hidden water holes, lacustrine marshes erupt with a cacophony of myriad water birds, Sage Thrashers sing ebulliently throughout broad scrubland basins, and Common Poorwills roost unobtrusively amid jumbled boulders and the rugged rimrock-topped slopes guarding vast high-elevation plateaus.

John Shewey is a longtime freelance writer and photographer who has spent decades exploring the border country. He’s left boot prints in places few people tread, changed flat tires on roads better walked than driven, and rejoiced in finding remote locations teeming with birds.

Date: 
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - 7:30pm
Location: 
Eugene Garden Club, 1645 High St

Thanks and Farewell to Caryn Stoess

We want to thank Caryn Stoess for her service on the Lane Audubon Board since January of 2015. She took on the Audubon in the Schools program, one of our important educational activities. Caryn has been a great asset as well as a fun companion on our bird walks and other events. Her enthusiasm for birding and learning will be missed. Caryn has moved to Corvallis for a new job and will continue her birding adventures up the valley. Best of luck and thank you Caryn—we will miss you!

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