Learn more about the PNW desert

The Yakima Valley Audubon Society will host its monthly program on Thursday, featuring a presentation titled "The Secret Life of the Deserts of the Pacific Northwest."

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. at the Yakima Area Arboretum for the in-person event, which will include an hour-long episode from a series narrated by Mike Denny. The series took three years to film and recorded more than 450 species of plants, animals and fish while showcasing the vast arid region of Oregon and Washington in the rainshadow of the Cascade mountains.

Attendees are asked to wear masks and a Zoom version will be available as well. That link and more information can be found at www.yakimaaudubon.org.

BIRD ALERT

This is the time of year that we start seeing an increase in the number of shorebirds in the Yakima area as the fall migration begins to heat up. This week the Grandview Wastewater Treatment Facility attracted black-necked stilt, killdeer, least sandpiper, semipalmated sandpiper, western sandpiper, long-billed dowitcher, Wilson's snipe, Wilson's phalarope, spotted sandpiper, solitary sandpiper and lesser yellowlegs. While this is a good list of shorebirds, some of the other sightings here that were also of note included wood duck, cinnamon teal, northern shoveler, gadwall, mallard, green-winged teal, redhead, ring-necked duck, ruddy duck and Virginia rail.

Nearby in three flooded fields along the bus road there were 15 black-necked stilts, 70 killdeer, four least sandpipers, three greater yellowlegs and six lesser yellowlegs. And on a small farm pond along Highway 12 between Granger and Outlook there were eight black-necked stilts, 12 killdeer and a greater yellowlegs.

Another good spot for spotting migrating shorebirds is Wenas Lake where birders observed killdeer, Baird's sandpiper and least sandpiper. Also found here were Canada goose, wood duck, cinnamon teal, northern shoveler, mallard, green-winged teal, Barrow's goldeneye, mourning dove, tree swallow, barn swallow, yellow warbler and Wilson's warbler.

Email bird sightings to kdturley@embarqmail.com and be sure to like The Yakima Valley Audubon Society on its Facebook page or visit yakimaaudubon.org.

— Kerry Turley

CALENDAR

SATURDAY: The Hard Core Runners Club will host its weekend fun run of three to six miles with all paces and abilities welcome. Meet at 8 a.m. in the Yakima Greenway’s Gleed parking lot, at the Northwest corner of Highway 12 and Old Naches Highway.

WEDNESDAY: The Hard Core Runners Club will meet for its weekly fun run at 6 p.m. at Franklin Park, where they run either on the track or on the street.

GETTING OUTDOORS

WEDNESDAY: All riders are welcome for a weekly community group mountain bike ride at 6:30 p.m. at the Rocky Top trails on Rocky Top Road in Yakima. The rides will continue as long as daylight and weather permit. All riders must have a helmet, bike and tire repair kit. For more information, contact yakimavalleymtbteam@gmail.com.

THURSDAY: The Cascadian Pathfinders will hike the 3.3 mile Naches Peak Loop with 636 feet of elevation gain near Chinook Pass. Call Carol at 509-833-7989 or for meeting time and place.

SATURDAY: The Cascadians will host a dog-friendly hike of seven miles with 1,300 feet of elevation gain along the Pacific Crest Trail to Sourdough Gap and the Crystal Lake Overlook near Chinook Pass, Green Trails map 270. There will be an option to stop and wait at Sheep Lake for just 3.6 miles with 500 feet of elevation gain. Departure is at 7 a.m. from the Chesterley Park parking lot and drivers need a US National Forest recreation day pass, annual Northwest Forest Pass or America the Beautiful pass. Call Marilyn at 847-878-0208 or email Satch at satch@krisludington.com for more information.

TUESDAY: The Cascadians will host their hike of the month, 3.2 miles with 600 feet of elevation along the Naches Loop with an optional side trip of three additional miles to Dewey Lake, near Chinook Pass. Departure is at 7 a.m. from the Chesterley Park parking lot and drivers need a Northwest Forest or America the Beautiful pass. Be sure to pack a lunch, swim wear and a camera. Contact Stephanie at sweise59@gmai.com for more information.

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