Michele Kislan hikes through sagebrush on the way up to the top of the Manastash Ridge on the Yakima Training Center near Ellensburg last Thursday. (Luke Thompson, Yakima Herald-Republic file)

Summer camp spots still available

Spots remain open for the final week of Kittitas Environmental Education Network’s summer camp, scheduled to begin July 27.

Only eight participants from third grade to middle school ages will be allowed to maximize social distancing. The Dirty Jobs/Adventure Camp will be held at Helen McCabe State Park and feature opportunities to learn from local biologists, ecologists, engineers and more from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Each week of camp costs $250 per person. Scholarships are available.

Some Manastash Ridge trails back open after repair work

Some Manastash Ridge Trails are open again after closures to repair damage caused by a sinkhole on the Kittitas Reclamation District Road near Ellensburg.

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

The Westberg Trail became accessible Monday night, but hikers should be aware construction will continue in the area.

The Kittitas Reclamation District also repaired the south bridge extension, restoring water deliveries to its customers.

Bird Alert

A couple of Yakima birders were monitoring the lower half of the Vredenburgh Bluebird trail along the Wenas Road when they experienced a special moment. Approaching a box, they saw a bluebird head poking out the entrance hole and then duck back inside. Slowly lifting the lid, they discovered five young birds with the longest tail feathers, about an inch and a half, that they had ever seen. As they turned to leave thinking “these birds are not long for this box”, they heard bouncing around inside the box and suddenly, like a swarm of hornets, all five came flying out. They flew quite well, actually, and quickly dispersed into the brush. A local wildlife biologist noted “cavity nesting species have a longer nestling development than open cup nesting species. Thus, when nestlings fledge, they are pretty capable of full flight and that they had most likely witnessed their maiden voyage!”

It’s hard to believe but the southern migration of shorebirds is in the early stages. This week birders at the Van Belle Road near Sunnyside noted black-necked stilt, killdeer, semipalmated sandpiper, western sandpiper and spotted sandpiper. They were also treated to a courtship display by a pair of Swainson’s hawks and a fairly rare for the lower valley Caspian tern.

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