Mount St. Helens

CWU professor to give volcano lecture

Renowned Central Washington professor Nick Zentner will be giving a free talk on volcano eruptions in the Cascades to honor the 40th anniversary of Mt. St. Helens blowing its top.

The host of the PBS TV series “Nick On The Rocks” is scheduled to speak at Yakima Valley College’s Kendall Hall on Jan. 8 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and will go in-depth on Cascade eruptions, including cinder cone eruptions when the Cascades were deep in the Ice Age. His talk marks the beginning of Cowiche Canyon Conservancy’s 2020 Winter Lecture Series in collaboration with YVC and the Yakima Symphony Orchestra with the theme “Nature’s Storytellers.”

Zentner has been with CWU Geology since 1992 and teaches the popular “GEOL 101 — Geology of Washington” course, which is open to the public for free. In 2015, he won the national James Shea Award for exceptional delivery of Earth Science content to the general public.


This week we wrapped up the last of the Christmas Bird Counts for our area with the Yakima count this past Saturday. While the number of birds counted appears to be low, the variety of species was exciting. Highlights included cackling goose, trumpeter swan, common loon, Barrow’s goldeneye, great egret, rock wren, lesser goldfinch, Anna’s hummingbird, brown creeper, Chukar, red-breasted sapsucker and brown-headed cowbird. They also had a good owl day with western screech, great-horned, long-eared, short-eared and northern saw-whet owls all being found

A rare Siberian gull, a slaty-backed gull, has been hanging around the Albertson’s parking lot in Kennewick, probably the last place you would expect to find this gull. Also just outside the Yakima County line in the Horse Heaven Hills of Benton County a local birder spotted and photographed a juvenile Gyrfalcon. This is the largest of the falcon species and it breeds on Arctic coasts and tundra, and the islands of northern North America, Europe, and Asia.

Can’t recall when your school won that state title? Need to settle a bet? One place for decades of Valley sports.

As I reflect on the past year’s great Yakima County birding, I wonder what special bird finds await those who chase these wondrous creatures in the new year. Only one way to find out what special birds await you in 2020, that is to grab the binoculars and get out in the field and reconnect with nature

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


TUESDAY: The Yakima Fly Fishers Association will host its first weekly fly tying class at 6:30 at Memorial Bible Church, 111 Old Stage Way in Yakima. Materials will be provided and loaner tools are available. For more information, call Ron at 509-952-3971 or email rtb351@gmail.com. Classes will be held each week through Feb. 25.


TUESDAY: The Cascadian Free Spirits will ski or snowshoe approximately 6 miles with about 1,200 feet of elevation gain from Morse Creek to Forest Service Cabin in the Chinook Pass area, Green Trails map 271, with departure at 8 a.m. from the Chesterley Park parking lot. Contact Kathleen at mrspickerk@gmail.com or Joyce at joyce@yakimaace.com with any questions.

THURSDAY, JAN. 9: The Cascadian Pathfinders will hike a 3-mile flat loop along Gold Creek and Gold Creek Pond with gorgeous views up Gold Creek Valley to rugged, snowy Chikamin Ridge and Peak. Lunch will be on the short of beautiful Gold Creek. There will be a bathroom stop at Traveler’s Rest at Snoqualmie Summit before and after, with an option to stop for coffee afterwards at the summit. Drivers need a Sno-Park permit. Call Carol at 509-833-7989 for meeting time and place.