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President’s Notes

President’s Notes – May – June, 2018
by Bob Phreaner

This is my opportunity to thank all who participated in the 15th annual BirdFest. Through your efforts, OPAS raised over $26,000 for the Dungeness River Audubon Center! A huge thank you to the BirdFest Committee (Chris Perry, Bob Boekelheide, Audrey Gift, Ken Wiersema, Shirley Anderson, Sara Ellen Peterson, Stacey Fradkin, Gretha Davis, Liz Bumgarner, Enid Phreaner, and co-chairman Marion Rutledge) and all the trip leaders. I would also like to thank the Dungeness River Audubon Center for allowing OPAS once again to employ Vanessa Fuller to organize Birdfest. Well done, Vanessa!

There were many highlights during the week long festivities. For the second year OPAS hosted the National Audubon Society’s Award winning photographs at Sequim City Hall. We were fortunate to have Bonnie Block, the 2017 1st place photographer, speak at the opening of the exhibit and also conduct a photography workshop. The Jamestown S’Klallam Totem tour was reinvigorated through the efforts of Andy Pitts, Dale Faulstich, and Bud Turner. The Totem Tour was such a success that next year we hope to offer two tours. Thanks to Arnold, Debbie, and Thor Schouten for sharing Dry Creek Waterfowl with two sold-out tour groups.

Despite stormy conditions, Bob and Barb Boekelheide led a hearty group of birders to the San Juan Islands on the Puget Sound Express’ MV Glacier Spirit. The stormy conditions didn’t deter Bob from leading the Neah Bay trip that had its pelagic tour cancelled due to high seas and rain. Still, with co-leader Denny Van Horn guiding through the Neah Bay environs that Denny calls “a birders candy store”, everyone had a wonderful and productive trip! Just ask anyone who attended about the 30 Greater Yellowlegs or 2900 Sandhill Cranes!

Kokopelli’s Grill, That Takes the Cake, and Sofie’s Floral helped Sara Ellen and her crew put on a wonderful banquet. The auction netted nearly $1000, and I’d like to thank all the contributors including Gary Bullock, Wild Birds Unlimited, Wings Optics, Puget Sound Express, Black Ball Ferry, PA Symphony, Kokopelli, and Coyote Grill. I’d also like to thank Sue Gilleland and Lee Bowen for donating money to BirdFest in lieu of their condo this year. Banquet speaker, author, photographer, and naturalist Claudio Vidal was a “big hit” and no doubt he won the prize for coming the furthest. Space does not permit a listing of all of the birding tours and exceptional volunteer guides who made the event successful in trying conditions, but you are the backbone of the Olympic BirdFest success. The post trip comments we solicited from our visitors universally complement your knowledge and friendliness. I salute you.

As you probably know, all proceeds from the Olympic BirdFest are used to support the Dungeness River Audubon Center. OPAS’ only fund raiser to provide for our operating expenses is the Birdathon on May 12, which is World Migratory Bird Day. Please consider a donation based on the total birds counted.

From Harlequin Happenings, May – June, 2018