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Three fishermen pass by a burned hillside Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, in the Yakima River Canyon near the Umtanum Recreation site outside of Ellensburg, Wash.

Umtanum Creek recreation site to close

The Bureau of Land Management plans to close its Umtanum Creek recreation site in the Yakima Canyon until May, starting Oct. 26.

Work to improve the suspension bridge and parking area was originally planned for fall 2018 before getting delayed. No access will be allowed into the site or across the footbridge until its reopening, scheduled for May 14, 2021.

WDFW asks for input on bear hunting

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife wants to hear from the public regarding a proposed rule for spring black bear hunting.

The rule would modify season dates and permit numbers in some areas, and remove two private timberland properties from the North Skagit hunt. Those interested should go to wdfw.wa.gov and follow the link to a survey by Oct. 29.

Written comments can also be submitted via email to wildthing@dfw.wa.gov or via mail to WDFW Rules Coordinator, PO Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504-3200. For more information go to wdfw.wa.gov.

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BIRD ALERT

Patch birding is a phrase that simply means birding regularly in an area close to home. The nice thing about patch birding is you can pop over to the local patch on short notice and at any time during the day to see what birds are active. The Yakima Area Arboretum is just such a place and this week local birders there enjoyed a great mix of birds, as well as a few surprises.

A local wildlife biologist, who has been banding sparrows at the arboretum sparrow patch for a couple of years now, trapped and banded a hybrid of a golden-crowned sparrow and a white-throated sparrow. A hybrid is a bird that has two different species as parents. Interestingly, other birders also found and photographed a hybrid of a white-crowned sparrow and a white-throated sparrow in the same area. The white-throated sparrow is a rare visitor to the Yakima area and at least one of them has been very active socially.

Also noted at the arboretum was a flock of 44 violet-green swallows moving south along the Yakima River and almost 200 cedar waxwings feeding on juniper berries.

If you find yourself not getting out enough lately, check out the Arboretum and discover the abundance of birds present within it. Remember to practice physical distancing while outdoors and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature that surrounds you.

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