Learn to band birds with Jeff Kozma

Jeff Kozma will lead a demonstration of how to capture and band birds using mist nets on Saturday at the Yakima Area Arboretum.

Yakima Valley Audubon Society is hosting the event and has already gotten nets up and running with food at the arboretum’s sparrow patch to capture birds that are migrating south. Kozma will teach various aspects of bird banding, including different mesh/net sizes and their uses, how to remove birds from nets, performing measurements on birds, how to age birds, banding codes and affixing bands to legs.

Dress appropriately for the weather and bring a folding camp chair unless you prefer to rough it on the ground, along with a camera to capture close-up images of the birds. Food and beverages, along with hand sanitizer to deal with bird poop would also be useful. To sign up and get meeting place and time, email Jeff Kozma at jcr_5105@charter.net.


A couple of local birders spent a beautiful clear morning at Conrad Meadows where they spotted four spruce grouse, one of which was a displaying adult male. This dapper species native to evergreen forests is extraordinarily tame and can occasionally be approached and caught; hence its local name, “Fool Hen.” Afterwards they stopped along Rimrock Lake where they noted California, ring-billed, and two herring gulls and at Clear Lake, where they added a surf scoter.

It’s getting to be the end of the Vaux’s swift fall migration, but a few can still be seen funneling into the chimney at Johnson’s Auto Glass. When a Yakima bird enthusiast arrived at dusk the estimate was 200+ circling swifts. At 6:45 p.m. 150 or so had entered and 75-100 continued to circle, shortly thereafter, 50-70 more entered with 30 still aloft. That’s when perhaps 50 swifts streamed OUT of the chimney. Flocks drifted in and out of sight and thinned to about 30 swifts without any entries. Then in rapid succession there were eight entry events of 10 to 30 birds each with a sudden rush of about 50 swifts zooming into the flock right above the chimney at one point. If you haven’t had a chance to see this event you may want to hurry down at dusk one evening as the freezing temps may eliminate a food source and send these birds packing.

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


FRIDAY: The Yakima Valley Mushroom Society will host a

at the Yakima Area Arboretum from 7-9 p.m. taught by the society’s mushroom identification expert, Jim Christenson. Attending the class also qualifies you to attend a special fall mushroom foray the following weekend. Tickets are $45 for members of the arboretum or YVMS and can be purchased at

. That fee includes a copy of the book All that the Rain Promises and More by David Arora.

SUNDAY: Support first responders at Ellensburg’s Run for the Brave 2019 at 9 a.m. at Rotary Park, a 5K mostly on paved paths or dirt trails. This year’s event is dedicated to Deputy Ryan Thompson and Officer Benito Chavez, the two officers shot while on duty last March. Thompson was killed and Chavez is recovering from his serious injuries. Proceeds will be split between Thompson’s family, Chavez, and the Kittitas County Veterans Coalition. For more information and to register, go to the event Facebook page, where race fees are $30 for adults, $20 for first responders and military in gear, $25 for a member of a team (minimum 5 members) and $12 for children 12 and under.

TUESDAY: The Yakima Climbing Scene will host its monthly meeting from 6-8 p.m. at Single Hill Brewing Company.

GETTING OUTDOORSTHURSDAY: The Cascadian Pathfinders will hike three to five miles with 600 feet of elevation gain on a Snipes Mountain ramble through vineyards and orchards with wonderful views from the top of the ridge. The group will go for lunch afterwards at Doc’s Pizza in Granger, so call Libby at 509-837-3609 or Linda at 509-965-4275 for meeting time and place.

FRIDAY: The Cascadians will go back to the Palouse to Cascades trail to ride 25 miles round trip along the section from the west end of Ellensburg toward the Thorp trailhead and beyond to the tunnels along the Yakima River. Be sure to carry a headlamp or bike light for the ride that goes through the steppe landscape and valley farmland, offering opportunities to see birds and other critters along the river’s edge with fall colors beginning to come into view. This section is mostly hard-packed gravel and dirt suitable for hybrid and mountain bikes, although areas of larger gravel and river rock may make your teeth chatter at times. Departure will be at 8:30 a.m. from the Chesterley Park parking lot. Call Kim Hull at 509-853-8698 with any questions.

TUESDAY: The Cascadian Free Spirits will go on two hikes due to wilderness area limits of 12 people per group. One group will hike nine miles with 2,400 feet of elevation gain to Polallie Ridge and Diamond Lake in the Kachess Lake area, Green Trails map 208, and there will be an option to meet at The Brick in Roslyn for Taco Tuesday after the hike. Email Ruth Ann at ruthannstacy1@gmail.com to reserve a spot. The other group will hike nine miles with 2,600 feet of elevation gain to Lake in the White Pass area, Green Trails map 303. Call Gary at 360-494-2721 to reserve a spot. Departure will be a 7:30 from the Chesterley Park parking lot for both groups and drivers need a Northwest Forest Pass or a Senior Pass.

ALSO TUESDAY: The Cascadian Trekkers will hike eight miles with 1,600 feet of elevation gain to Rachael Lake in the Snoqualmie Pass area, Green Trails maps 207-208. Departure will be at 7:30 a.m. from the Chesterley Park parking lot. Call Mark Kushner at 509-969-2431 with any questions.

WEDNESDAY: Join the Cascadians for the third fall conditioning hike in the Yakima River Canyon, at Old Baldy, with 1,900 feet of elevation gain over the two-mile round trip. These six steep, strenuous hikes will help prepare your legs for the coming ski season, and participants should plan to move at their own pace. Fall weather can be cold in the mornings, so bring layers, gloves, a rain jacket and water. Check the calendar in case of inclement weather and plan to depart at 8:30 a.m.

THURSDAY, OCT. 10: The Pathfinders will hike six miles with little elevation gain along the Goose Egg Mountain trail in the Rimrock area, Green Trails map 304. Call Rudy at 509-248-7304 for meeting time and place.

Kerry L. Turley