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Rainier Audubon Society September 2009

Monday, September 21, at 7:00 PM 80 People on a Birding Trip

Federal Way United Methodist Church
by Pat Toth
Feathered Architects: The Fascinating World of Bird Nests
In June, an incredible morning
Presented by Idie Ulsh of birding took place and Rainier
From eagles to hummingbirds, Idie Ulsh will explore with us how and Audubon had a huge part in making it
birds make nests, and relate interesting facts about their construction.
Using happen.
photos of over 60 species, Idie will show different types and classifications of nests. I am part owner of a Wild
In addition to her own photos, she
will include photos from many excellent local Birds Unlimited (WBU) franchise
photographers, University of
Puget which has stores all across the
Sound Slater Museum, and Cornell United States and Canada. Last
Lab of Ornithology in this unique year, the company made plans to
program. hold its annual meeting (for 2009)
Idie Ulsh is well known for her bird in Bellevue, WA.
and butterfly programs.  She has Brian Cunningham, who works
now completed an in-depth three for WBU, contacted me several
year study of bird nests.  She is a months ago and asked if I would help
past president of Seattle Audubon, organize a birding trip for attendees.
founder of the Washington Butterfly Of course I agreed and immediately
Association, Seattle Audubon Master thought of long-time
Birder, nature photographer, and an Rainier member,
independent college counselor. Many expert field trip
will remember the butterfly program leader, and bird
Idie presented to Rainier a number identification
of years ago — this program will be class teacher,
just as entertaining and informative. Carol Schulz. I
Western Wood-pewee at nest contacted Carol
Please join us as we kick off
another season with Rainier Audubon. Refreshments and conversation available and asked if she
before, during, and after the program. would be willing
to help out, and
R ainier programs are free she graciously
and open to all .
said she would.
About a month
Directions to Federal Way United before the meeting,
Methodist Church Brian flew out from
29645 - 51st Ave. So. 98001 Indianapolis and
(in unincorporated Auburn) met Carol. Marymoor
Park had been suggested as
In Federal Way, take 320th St. EAST a site for the field trip because of its
past The Commons, crossing over I-5 wonderful and varied habitats as well
and Military Rd. At 321st St, turn left. as its proximity to the hotel where
Stay on 321st as it becomes 51st Ave. So. the meeting was to be held. Carol and
Follow 51st Ave. to 296th. Church will Brian visited the park and surrounding
Western Kingbird nest be on your left.
(continued on page 4)
President’s Message
by Nancy Streiffert
Introduction to Birding Class Welcome to the 2009-2010 Rainier Audubon
year! Even if you no longer are involved with school in
This fall, Rainier Audubon will be offering an any way, you may feel like September is the “real” start of
Introduction to Birding class. This the year. While I love spring and all the newness of life
enjoyable class will consist of — longer days, plants, flowers, birds, baby animals — I
one lecture and two fun and don’t always enjoy summer since I
educational field trips. Class will get crabby when it is too hot!  So
be held at the Federal Way United when the weather cools down, fall
Methodist Church (see address seems like another new start —
and directions on page 1) on changing light, a different and often
Tuesday evening, October 27, more subtle palette of colors with,
from 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM. Field of course, the bright color bursts of
trips will be Saturday, October 31, autumn foliage.
and Saturday, November 7, 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM. After our summer break,
Your teachers will be Master Birder Carol Schulz and Rainier Audubon is up and running
Assistant Instructor Debra Russell. We will use the with interesting new monthly
National Geographic Field Guide to Birds of North America meetings, field trips, classes to hone
(3rd, 4th, or 5th edition) as the class text. Please bring your bird identification skills, old and
this guide to the class. Cost for the class will be $25 new friends with whom to share news of your summer
for Rainier members and $40 for non-members. sightings and trips, and maybe some new activities you’d
For more information or to reserve a spot in the like to join.  Personally, as I write this on August 11, I’m
class, please call or email Carol at (206) 824-7618 or reveling in the first real rain since June 24!  Please join
linusq@att.net. us at our first meeting, September 21 — come early for
beverages, snacks, and visiting!

President ----------Nancy Streiffert------------ ----(253) 796-2203
Vice President ----------Steve Feldman*-------------- ----(360) 802-5211
Treasurer ----------Jim Tooley *------------------ ----(253) 854-3070
Program Chair ----------Dale Meland*--------------- ----(253) 946-1637
Field Trip Chair ----------Carol Schulz----------------- ----(206) 824-7618
Backyard H abitat Chair ----------Carol Stoner*--------------- ----(253) 854-3207
M embership Chair ----------Pat Toth----------------------- ----(206) 767-4944
Conservation Chair ----------Dan Streiffert--------------- ----(253) 796-2203
M ailing Chair ----------Debra Russell---------------- ----(425) 271-0682
Hospitality ----------Jane Gardner ---------------- ----(253) 631-3105
Newsletter Editor ----------Nancy Hertzel-------------- ----(253) 255-1808
Education Chair ----------Annette Tabor*------------- ----(253) 927-3208
Christmas Bird Count Coordinator ----------Nancy Streiffert------------ ----(253) 796-2203
Board M ember ----------Max Prinsen------------------ ----(425) 432-9965
Board M ember ----------Erin Wojewodski-Prinsen ----(425) 432-9965

*Also serves as Board member

Rainier Audubon Society

PO Box 778. Auburn WA 98071. (253) 796-2203
website: www.RainierAudubon.org
email: info@RainierAudubon.org

September 2009 - PAGE 2

What was your best birding
experience of the summer?
Mewsings from Millie by Carol Stoner
Hello! My name is Millie and I am the For me, it was the July day I was
new store kitty at Wild Birds Unlimited in leaning on my shovel when I heard
the beautiful town of Burien. The nice heard forceful tapping sounds that
people from the store adopted me from suggested Pileated Woodpecker.  I
the Seattle Humane Society on June 1, finally went in for binoculars, then to
2009, and I thought it was about time to the back yard to skulk around and look
introduce myself. for the bird. I found the stump — an
I am five years old and one of my 8-ft-high rotten alder trunk — but the
owners thinks I may be a Maine Coon, or part, anyway. I seem to fit the tapping bird was low to the ground
description of a Maine Coon in terms of my very soft fur, my size, and my and obscured by leaves.  However, I
sweet personality. I like people and can be quite affectionate, but I am also was surprised when a juvenile Red-
quite independent. breasted Sapsucker appeared on top. 
Living at the store suits me very well. It is a relaxing, comfortable place It was test pecking at some spots on
to be (wow, did I ever appreciate the air conditioning during the heat wave!) the trunk, but there certainly was no
and I get to meet many different people during the day. My main duties are to sap to be had.  I could see the trunk
greet people and to model being the perfect indoor kitty, which is so easy for shake when the still-hidden Pileated
me to do since I was raised indoors anyway! One of my favorite things to do whacked it from his position down
is to lay on the seed island and watch the world go by. toward the base of the tree. After much
As you can imagine, many customers come in with funny and sneaking around, I finally got a glimpse
interesting stories and experiences. One of my responsibilities will be to pay of his red topknot.  I went back to my
attention to what people are saying or doing and pass anything amusing and/ gardening, and the next time I looked
or interesting on to you. I may also include some of my own observations up, there was a young male Pileated
and profound thoughts. Starting next month, look for my new column, carving his initials in the remains of
“Mewsings from Millie.” Until then, happy bird feeding! an old cottonwood that had fallen last
year.  A carrot-topped female soon
Your feline friend, joined him, and finally the adult male
Millie flew in to work the willow close by.
One Pileated would be a good day, but
a family of three (plus a sapsucker) was
Planning for the New Year the best. So, what was your best birding
experience of the summer? To share it
Rainier Audubon
with other Heron Herald readers, send
Board Members
me an email at stonefam@gte.net.
and Committee
Chairs met in
early August at
Vice President
Steve Feldman’s
home in
Enumclaw to
plan for the
upcoming year.
Starting at left with
Ross Tabor in plaid
shirt and moving
around the table
clockwise: Ross
Tabor, Jim Tooley, Nancy Streiffert, Pat Toth, Carol Stoner, Thais Bock, Dan
Streiffert, Annette Tabor, and Steve Feldman. Photo taken by Nancy Hertzel.

September 2009 - PAGE 3

80 People on a Birding Trip
(continued from page 1) Saturday, September 19
area, discussed the possibilities, and decided to go ahead with Marymoor as the site Green River Natural Areas
for the field trip.
Two days before the actual outing, my husband Andy, Carol, Brian, the head
naturalist for WBU, John Schaust, and I visited Marymoor to see what we could
see and it was very promising. At that point, John mentioned that there were 80 or
more people signed up for the trip! I suggested that I contact my good friend and
also long-time Rainier member and birder Barbara Petersen, and see if she could
also help out. When I called, Barbara said she would be there.
The morning of Saturday, June 27, dawned with blue skies, sunshine, and
perfect temperatures. Two full tour buses rolled into Marymoor Park at 6:30
AM. For almost four hours, the group ventured through the park with scopes
and binoculars, birding with Carol, John, Brian, Barbara, and Andy guiding the
way. What made the trip extra special and exciting was that many of our “usual
suspects” were life birds for many of the participants who were from other parts
of the country. “Ooohs” and “ahhs” abounded as people spotted birds such as Join the South King County
Black-headed Grosbeaks, Anna’s Hummingbirds, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, and Group of the Sierra Club, and
Red-breasted Sapsuckers, to name a few. Many people exclaimed that they added 10 Josh Kahan, King County
or more life birds to their lists that morning! And to top it all off, as we exited the Green River/White River Basin
birding trail, a Lazuli Bunting was in plain sight, singing away for all of us to enjoy! Steward, on a tour of the Green
Thanks to Carol’s and Barbara’s support, it was an amazing morning of River Natural Areas, which the
birding and a trip that the participants will remember for the rest of their lives. King County Dept. of Natural
Below is a list of the 58 species spotted that day. Happy birding! Resources and Parks has been
actively enhancing over the last
nine years.
Looking south across Lake Sammamish from Marymoor Park
Meet at 9:00 AM at Whitney
Bridge Park (where 212th Way and
218th Ave. SE cross the Green
River). Dress for the weather
(bring boots) and bring lunch/
drinks, etc. Over by 1:00 PM.

Contact Mark Johnston by

email at markjtn@earthlink.net
or at (253) 639-3862 for more

Wood Duck Red-breasted Sapsucker Bushtit

Mallard Hairy Woodpecker Black-capped Chickadee Spotted Towhee
Common Merganser Northern Flicker Brown Creeper Savannah Sparrow
Great Blue Heron Western Wood-pewee Chestnut-backed Chickadee Song Sparrow
Osprey Willow Flycatcher Bewick’s Wren Dark-eyed Junco
Bald Eagle Warbling Vireo Red-breasted Nuthatch Black-headed Grosbeak
Sharp-shinned Hawk Red-eyed Vireo Marsh Wren Lazuli Bunting
Cooper’s Hawk Steller’s Jay Golden-crowned Kinglet Red-winged Blackbird
Band-tailed Pigeon American Crow Swainson’s Thrush Bullock’s Oriole
Mourning Dove Purple Martin American Robin Brown-headed Cowbird
Barn Owl Tree Swallow European Starling Purple Finch
Vaux’s Swift Violet-green Swallow Cedar Waxwing House Finch
Anna’s Hummingbird No. Rough-winged Swallow Yellow Warbler Pine Siskin
Rufous Hummingbird Cliff Swallow Common Yellowthroat American Goldfinch
Downy Woodpecker Barn Swallow Western Tanager
September 2009 - PAGE 4
Field Trips — by Carol Schulz

Weekly Bird Walks at Nisqually Lake Sammamish eBird Field Trip: Foothills Trail
Wednesdays Sunday, October 11 Saturday, September 26
8:00 AM - 11:30 AM 8:00 AM — Early Afternoon 7:30 AM ­— Early Afternoon
Leader: Phil Kelley Leader: Amy Schillinger Leader: Charlie Wright

Phil’s bird walk routes changed Join Amy on a field trip to Lake Join Charlie to bird and collect
in the spring of this year. The Sammamish State Park. Trails at important data at the Foothills Trail
boardwalk loop, including the twin this large park near Issaquah should and South Prairie near Orting in
barns and riparian overlook, is now have beautiful fall colors. The park Pierce County. Late summer and
the only area open to the public due has wetlands, two creeks, and three fall is the most productive season
to construction. Even so, birding beaches. We will look for migrant for birding the trail, which traverses
has been good. birds and birds in fall plumage. rich riparian habitat along South
Join Phil on his weekly walk as he BRING: Lunch or snacks, and Prairie Creek. This is a chance to
counts the birds at Nisqually. The drinks. Trails may be muddy, so ask questions and learn about the
group takes the boardwalk/trail loop dress for the weather. We may walk online database, www.eBird.org.
out to the twin barns, the Nisqually up to one mile. Species bar charts for the trail made
overlook area, and the riparian area, MEET: At 8:00 AM at the by eBird will be handed out and
totaling about two miles. Newcastle Park & Ride, exit 9, our sightings will be entered and
BRING: Good walking shoes or north of Renton on I-405. Be shared by all after the trip. Migrant
boots, raingear, water, snacks, and careful to turn right (up the hill) to warblers, sparrows, flycatchers,
$3 for entry fee unless you have a enter the P & R, and do not drive woodpeckers, raptors, and more
pass. Scopes are welcome. down the ramp to the freeway. may be found along this trail. We
MEET: At the Visitor Center. Those who wish to leave early may will also look for American Dippers
DIRECTIONS: Take I-5 south and do so. and spawning salmon along the
exit at Nisqually NWR (exit 114). SIGN UP: Call or email Amy at creek and on the Carbon River.
Take a right at the light. (206) 992-8699 or amyschillinger@ BRING: Lunch, water, and snacks.
SIGN UP: Call or email Phil to comcast.net. We may walk up to a couple of miles
confirm details: (360) 459-1499, or on level, paved trails. There is a road
scrubjay323@aol.com. which runs near the trail for folks
For more information about trail who can’t walk far. If it rains, dress
closures, go to www.fws.gov/nisqually for the weather.
and click on Events & News. MEET: 7:30 AM at Jack-in-the-Box
on Ellingson Rd. in Algona-Pacific.
You may bring your car on the trip
Beaches and Parks — Fall Color and Fall Birds and leave early if you wish.
Saturday, October 24, 8:00 AM to Mid-Afternoon DIRECTIONS: From I-167 and
Leader: Steve Johnson. Hwy. 18 in Auburn, go south on
I-167 1.8 miles to Ellingson Rd. exit,
Visit picturesque beaches and parks in King County and Pierce County during then east 0.2 miles toward Algona/
a great time of year to look for returning fall birds.  We’ll travel to local parks Pacific. Go through the 4-way stop.
and beaches along Puget Sound, searching for Harlequin Ducks, all three Jack-in-the-Box is on your left.
scoters, and various waterfowl and forest birds.  This is a good time of year to SIGN UP: Email or call Charlie
see scenic views and fall color. Expect to walk short distances from the cars. at (253) 468-4146 or c.wright7@
Bring: Lunch, a thermos and drinks, and warm clothes.  Scopes are welcome. comcast.net. Sign up early as this
Meet: 8:00 AM at the 272nd Park & Ride north of Federal Way. trip may fill. Participants should sign
Directions: Take I-5 to exit 147 north of Federal Way.  Exit onto So. up for eBird, a free service, before
272nd St, and go west one block to the light.  Turn right and go one block into or shortly after the trip. Visit www.
the Park & Ride on the right. eBird.org to learn more.
Sign-Up: Call or email Steve Johnson, (253) 941-9852, johnsonsj5@msn.com.

September 2009 - PAGE 5

Silly Goose – A Domestic Bird Story
by Nancy Streiffert A Birders Book Club
Is anyone in Rainier interested
I have been keeping from 3-12 hens for more than 20 years, buying them as in reading and discussing books
day-old chicks, raising them until they lay eggs, and then providing an Old Age that focus on birding and other
Home for them until they expire of natural causes – not a for-profit operation! environmental topics? Based on my
They provide healthy eggs, and mini-rototilling service in my vegetable garden experience, we would need a group
during the winter, as well as nitrogen-rich manure. For variety, I’ve also kept two of 6 to 10. We could meet in one
ducks or two geese at a time, housing them with the hens. another’s homes or perhaps find a
For the past several years, I’ve had six hens and one beautiful, gray goose library meeting room to use.
named Lucy, The details of book choice, leader/
who also no leader/revolving leader, discussion
lays an questions, day and time could be
egg every decided at our first meeting.
other day What would we read? Any
for about book that appealed to the group.
six months We could choose serious work
of the year like An Inconvenient Truth by Al
and is a Gore, entertaining tales like Mark
very vocal Obmascik’s The Big Year, or older
guard books like Sand County Almanac or
“dog.” In one of John Muir’s works.
March, I If this idea appeals to you,
added six contact Carol Stoner at (253) 854
day-old 3207 or email stonefam@gte.net.
Island Red
chicks. In
late July,
the new Puget Sound Bird Fest
hens began laying eggs. With 12 hens, I needed to add roosting and nest space September 11 - 13
since I’d never had that many layers in the past. The new arrangement meant
there was no longer a barrier between Lucy’s nest and the hens’ nests. This weekend event starts
Soon after they’d started laying and we were overwhelmed with eggs, the Friday evening with an opening
nests suddenly started having only one or two eggs each. It was at the same time reception and keynote speaker.
that Lucy stopped laying and started molting – during which she sits inside on her On Saturday, there will be
nest and looks unhappy since it is very hot for a well-insulated animal like a goose. exhibits, children’s activities,
The lack of eggs continued for a week or so. I was concerned that Lucy might lectures and presentations. On
overheat and dehydrate since she didn’t seem to be going outside to drink or eat. I Saturday and Sunday, there will
picked her up to carry her outside – and in her nicely down-padded nest were 15 be guided walks and field trips,
chicken eggs! Apparently there is something in a including a Puget Sound Birding
goose brain that says an abandoned egg Cruise Saturday morning and a
of any kind needs to be sat on, so bus trip to Monroe with boxed
she had rolled the chicken eggs dinner included Saturday evening
from their nests into hers! to see thousands of Vaux’s
Hoping that it won’t muddle Swifts. The featured activity on
her bird brain, I’ve replaced Sunday will be the self-guided
the barrier around the hens’ backyard wildlife habitat tours.
nests. Lucy has resumed her So, mark your calendar to be
noisy, outdoor duties, and we in Edmonds September 11-13,
are enjoying fresh eggs daily! 2009! More information at www.

September 2009 - PAGE 6

Bringing Nature Home:
How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants 
by Douglas W. Tallamy

Book Review by Nancy Streiffert

(An earlier version of this book is informative read and a not-so-subtle
entitled Bringing Nature Home: How plea to help stop the loss of habitat
Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in our for the birds and animals we love and
Gardens) need for the health of our planet, by
  buying and growing native plants.
The first part of this book Several Rainier Audubon
explains why we need bugs and bug members are becoming experts
diversity, and why only native plants on native plants and can give
have a hope of producing that. As the helpful information to anyone who
author explains, “alien plants” and needs it. Just email us at info@
the nursery trade that pushes them so RainierAudubon.org.
hard, are not benign, but are actively
harmful, producing a loss of bug (and
consequently bird) habitat. They also
July Adopt-A-Road
introduce invasive diseases and pests. 
The author cites studies and references Clean Up
to show that 96% of North American
birds feed insects to their babies. A SHADOW (a nonprofit
native plant will support 10-50 times although neglecting bitter cherry, organization in Renton
more insect species than an alien. cascara and black hawthorn under dedicated to preserving
For example, a prairie invaded by an Pacific Northwest.  An interesting table Shadow Lake Bog) and
exotic grass has only half as many showing the different plant genuses and Rainier Audubon, partners
mockingbirds as a nearby intact native the general number of butterfly species in an Adopt-a-Road project,
prairie. that eat each one is included. Examples: worked as a team once again
 Only 3-4% of U.S. land is for another successful cleanup
genuinely undisturbed.  While this Oaks (534) up on July 25. The weather was
statistic is depressing, it can be Willows (456) comfortable, the participants
ammunition for convincing ourselves Hawthorn (159) were enthusiastic, and the task
and our lawmakers to fight the huge Maple (285) went quickly. As we worked,
lawn and nursery lobbies that create several area residents stopped to
and perpetuate these problems, There is a description of each tree say “Thanks.” One homeowner
including the work and resources it genus and an illustrated catalog of the was kind enough to bring sodas
takes to remove invasive species from major groups of herbivorous insects out to the volunteers working
public and private lands.  (much less about predator insects and in front of her property. Most
 On a happier note, a large part of other arthropods). unusual find of the day — two
the book is devoted to specifics of how  He uses Lepidoptera (butterflies) 12-inch fish that had apparently
anyone with even a small plot of land as a stand-in for all insects, partly been swimming just hours
can help reweave the web, restoring because they are the best studied, partly before. Thanks to Erin and Max
the sun/plant/insect/bird/animal links because they are a large fraction of the Prinsen for snacks and volunteer
— by planting native plants. insect biomass and species diversity coordination.
While Tallamy’s references and and partly because, wherever there Our next cleanup will be in
studies are largely east coast (as that are butterflies, there will also be other March and details will be in this
is where the majority of this kind bugs.  He includes many good photos, newsletter if you would like to
of study have been done), he does especially of butterflies on native plants.  join us. All hands welcome.
include regional plant suggestions,  Overall, the book is an easy,

September 2009 - PAGE 7


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