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Scenes from the Arbor Festival at the Yakima Area Arboretum in Yakima, Wash., Saturday, April 16, 2016. Three trees were planted near Jewett Pond to commemorate Yakima's official Arbor Day. The event featured 33 education and activity stations. (SOFIA JARAMILLO/Yakima Herald-Republic)

Arbor Day Festival 
set for Saturday

The Yakima Area Arboretum will host its 20th annual free Arbor Day Festival with the theme “A Walk in the Woods”, this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Lots of hands-on learning opportunities, crafts, and displays will be available at roughly 30 stations and more than 600 families will be able to take home their own tree to plant. For more information, go to ahtrees.org.

 

BIRD ALERT

Local avian enthusiasts who were performing maintenance and cleaning out the bluebird boxes along the North Wenas Road bluebird trail managed to tally a respectable 28 species of birds. The highlights included white-headed woodpecker, Say’s phoebe and 20 western bluebirds anxiously waiting to move in.

Residents along South 18th Avenue were rudely awakened in the predawn hours by a western screech owl singing its bouncing ball song outside their bedroom window. They were able to see its silhouette as it perched in their dogwood tree.

This time of year is when the strikingly patterned little harlequin duck returns to the turbulent waters of our rushing rivers. This week there were three males and one female spotted on the Tieton River between mile post 171 and 172 along Highway 12. Also noted here was an American dipper which like the harlequin duck uses fast-flowing streams and rivers to breed.

A backyard feeder in the Hamilton Park area attracted two California scrub jays this week, a first for the homeowner. The California scrub jay has in recent years expanded its range north to include Yakima County.

Please email your bird sightings to kdturley@embarqmail.com and be sure to like us on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/yakimaaudubon/ or visit our website at yakimaaudubon.org/.

Kerry L. Turley

 

ON THE CALENDAR

SATURDAY: Pacific Northwest University will host the Run For Your Life 5K sponsored by Sundown M Ranch with all proceeds going to the Pegasus Project, a therapeutic horseback riding program for children and adults with special emotional and physical needs. The race begins at 8 a.m. and registration can be done on-site from 7-7:30 a.m. or prior to the race online on the event’s Facebook page.

 

GETTING OUTDOORS

THURSDAY: The Cascadian Pathfinders will hike assorted trails with varied elevation gain at Snow Mountain Ranch to enjoy its panoramic views, abundant wildflowers and other signs of spring. Call Donna at 509-452-3961 or Terry at 509-457-5351 for meeting time and place.

FRIDAY: Join the Cascadians for a an easy six-mile Flora, Fauna and Photo hike at the Cowiche Mountain loop, with departure at 9 a.m. from the Chesterley Park parking lot.

SATURDAY: Join the Cascadians for an 11-mile hike with 1,200 feet of elevation gain through the Ginkgo Backcountry near Vantage, DNR map Yakima, with departure from the Chesterley Park parking lot at 8 a.m. The hike will include some off-trail exploration and possibly class two scramble depending on the route. Drivers will need a Discover Pass. Call Brittany and Brian Coonrod at 724-316-2610 for more information.

MONDAY: Join the Cascadians for the fourth of six weekly conditioning hikes on trails in the Yakima Canyon with departure at 3 p.m. from the Chesterley Park parking lot. This steep, strenuous and informal hike will be a five-mile round trip with 2,100 feet of elevation to Umtanum Ridge. Participants should plan to move at their own pace and spring weather can be “iffy”, so bring layers, a rain jacket and a headlamp just in case, as well as water. Call Kim Hull at 509-853-8698 for more information.

TUESDAY: The Cascadian Free Spirits will hike six miles with 2,250 feet of elevation gain up Cleman Mountain in the Naches area and the Trekkers will hike approximately 12 miles with 600 feet of elevation gain at Ancient Lakes near Moses Lake. Both groups depart at 8 a.m. from the Chesterley Park parking lot. Call Mic Powell at 509-248-1268 or Dean Hata at 509-388-6375 with any questions regarding the Free Spirits outing. Call Sharon Liner at 610-703-6750 with any questions regarding the Trekkers outing and drivers with both groups will need a Discover Pass. The 13 Essentials are required for both hikes.

ALSO TUESDAY: Bearded Monkey Cycling and Fitness will host its weekly road rides with various distances and paces for different skill levels. Meet at the store at 6 p.m. and be ready to roll out at 6:15 to ride until around 7.

THURSDAY, APRIL 18: The Pathfinders will hike from Sunset Road towards Hatton Road on a segment of the William O. Douglas Trail, where a gradual easy ascent will lead to a three to four mile walk that crosses WDFW land and follows and old stagecoach road. Be prepared for route changes due to winter conditions and afterwards the group will return to Stephanie’s house for lunch. Bring your own beverage and one sandwich-size bag worth of contributions as well as a cookie or veggie tray that will be shared by everyone. Call Stephanie at 509-678-5560 and leave a message on her answering machine to indicate how many are coming and what you will be bringing.