Field Trips

Every Wednesday, 8:00 am — 11:00 am, Field Trip: 
Phil Kelley leads a
Birding Walk at Nisqually NWR.  Meet at the Nisqually Visitor Center.

First Saturday of each month, Birding and Breakfast -
First Saturday of each month, different location each time within Lewis, Mason, or Thurston County.  Birding at 7:30 am and breakfast at 9:00 am.
For more information, contact Deb Nickerson at 360-754-5397.

Third Monday of each month at 4:30 pm, Event:

Birds and Beer (Olympia)

Gather with birders at the Fish Tale Brewpub on the third Monday of each month. People will share their “best birding spots in our area.”

Come ready to share where and why you go birding in a particular spot. People new to our area will benefit from your knowledge.  We will gather at the couches in the back.
Location:  Fish Tale Brewpub,
               515 Jefferson St. SE, Olympia

Last Wednesday of each month at 5:00 pm , Event:

Shelton Birds and Brew

Meet other birders from Mason County or those who happen to be in the area. Discuss good places to bird and the interesting birds you have sighted recently. Have a beverage and or a bite to eat with us.

Come ready to share where and why you go birding in a particular spot. People new to our area will benefit from your knowledge.
Location:  Location changes from time to time. Please contact Norma at 426-1051 for the next location.

Third Thursday of each month, 8:00 a.m:   Field Trip:

Guided Birding at Eagle’s Pride Golf Course

Eagle’s Pride Golf Course, which most of us only glimpse as we speed by on I-5, has many acres of undeveloped ponds, meadow, and conifer and
deciduous forest, just one-half mile from the Nisqually River.
Over 72 species of birds have been documented so far on these Thursday field trips.

This trip will be from 1-3 miles long on relatively level ground, and explore forest, water, and open area species.

No security passes are required. Trip starts promptly at 8:00 a.m. at the golf course driving range parking lot. 

Location: Exit 116 (Mounts Road), turn north, turn right into Eagle’s Pride Golf Course clubhouse parking area, go down ramp and make an immediate, hard left onto driving range access road (narrow road). Proceed to driving range parking area.

For questions, contact David Wienecke at or
(253) 964-0341 (office) or (760)828-8788 (cell).

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---  2015  Field Trips and Events  ---

Apr. 29 (Wed.)

5:00 pm

BHAS Event:     Shelton Birds & Brew (formerly called Birds & Beer-Shelton)
(Last Wednesday of each month at 5 pm)

Meet other birders from Mason County or those who happen to be in the area. Discuss good places to bird and the interesting birds you have sighted recently. Have a beverage and/or a bite to eat with us.

Come ready to share where and why you go birding in a particular spot. People new to our area will benefit from your knowledge. 

Please note time:  5 pm.

Location:  Location changes from time to time. Please contact Norma at 426-1051 for this evening's location.

Apr. 30 (Thur.)

6:30 - 8:00 P.M.

BHAS Audubon Outreach Committee Meeting

Audubon Outreach welcomes new members, creates opportunities to bird and socialize together, assists with chapter projects and events, and organizes educational experiences for Thurston, Lewis, and Mason counties.

By volunteering alongside others we get to know each other better.

  1. Help with Annual Dinner in March of each year
  2. Come to First Saturday Birding and Breakfast and answer questions about Black Hills Audubon
  3. Greet or bring refreshments at a Program meeting on the 2nd Thursday of the month
  4. Staff a table with Audubon materials and answer questions about Black Hills Audubon at local events
  5. Post birding events on website event calendars of local radio stations, newspapers, Chamber of Commerce and others.
  6. Post Birding and Breakfast and Birding and Beer posters at local libraries and businesses.

Location: Deb Nickerson's home.  Please email debranick@gmail for directions.

Newcomers are welcome!

Audubon Outreach meets the last Thursday of September, January, and April.
Contact Black Hills Audubon Society at 360-352-7299 for location of future meetings.

May 1-3 
(Fri Sun)
Event:   Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival 2015
Location: Hoquiam, Washington

Each spring, hundreds of thousands of shorebirds stop to rest and feed in Grays Harbor estuary on their migration northward. Coming from as far south as Argentina, these Arctic-bound shorebirds are among the world's greatest migrants. Some birds travel over 15,000 miles round trip! Tens of thousands of shorebirds feed on the open mudflats in the estuary. This concentration of birds offers people a great chance to view a number of shorebird species, and with luck, to see the birds fly together in beautiful formations while trying to escape the fastest creature on earth, the Peregrine Falcon. For full information about festival events, see

At Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge (GHNWR), shorebirds can be viewed best during the period about two hours before high tide to two hours after. During high tide, birds are closer and more concentrated for better viewing. The peak in migration typically occurs the last week in April. Best viewing times at GHNWR during the 2015 festival are:
Date: High tide Best viewing
Friday, May 1 12:30 p.m. 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 2 1:20 p.m. 11:20 a.m. - 3:20 p.m.
Sunday, May 3 2:00 p.m. 12 noon - 4 p.m.

NOTE: Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge is open from sunrise to sunset.

May 2-3
Volunteers are needed for monitoring Snowy Plovers during designated dates in May that coincide with razor clam digs.

Location: Midway beach near Grayland, WA

Details: Volunteers are requested during designated dates in May that coincide with razor clam digs. Volunteers will be assigned to assist with patrolling Midway Beach and conducting outreach on protecting snowy plovers from accidental harm.

One or two volunteers will be located at the site at least 2 ½ hours before the start of low tide. The typical shift should take about 6 hours. The location for this project is Midway beach near Grayland, WA in Grays Harbor County. Volunteers may need to visit Montesano beforehand, to pick up equipment. You will need your own vehicle. Volunteer hours can be applied to Master Hunter certification or recertification.

Contact: WDFW Technician John Diebert at (360) 249-4628 ext 232, email

WDFW District Wildlife Biologist Anthony Novack at (360) 249-4628 ext 238, email

May 2 (Sat.)

7:30 am, and

9:00 am


BHAS Field Trip/Event:       Birding & Breakfast

Want to get a head start on your weekend? Join us for Birding and Breakfast on the first Saturday of each month. Bird with us at 7:30 a.m., then enjoy breakfast at a local restaurant at 9:00 a.m.

Or, if you’re a late riser, just join us for breakfast and we’ll tell you what birds are in the area. Beginning birders are welcome.

             7:30 am:   Priest Point Park (Rose Garden), 2600 East Bay Dr. NE, Olympia

             9:00 am:   Breakfast at Dancing Goats (across from Farmer’s Market,
                            111 Market St. NE, Olympia)

May 9 (Sat.)

7:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

BHAS Field Trip:     Tumwater Historical Park
Leader: To be announced

In honor of today's "International Bird Day" theme, "Restore Habitat, Restore Birds," Black Hills Audubon and the Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team will lead a walk at Tumwater Historical Park. Dress for the weather.
May 9 (Sat.)

7:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.

Prairie Appr. Day:
10 am - 3 pm

Field Trip and Event:   Prairie Appreciation Day
Location:  Glacial Heritage Preserve, Rochester

Normally closed, once a year the Glacial Heritage Preserve opens its restored South Sound meadows, streams, and woods to the public. Their timing is grand: camas is in bloom; the hills slopes are blue. Other rare prairie wildflowers are also in bloom, and prairie birds are busy.

The day will start with an early birdwalk led by Black Hills Audubon. The birdwalk will cover the open prairie, oak riparian forest (along Littlerock River), and the Douglas Fir perimeter forest in a search for Meadowlarks, Savannah Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, Western Bluebirds, Ospreys, American Kestrels, and Northern Harriers, as well as Warblers and other forest birds. The two-mile walk is along a mostly flat gravel road.
Dress for the weather. Mornings can be cool. Bring binoculars and water and snacks as needed.

After the birdwalk, you can depart or stay for the rest of the event's activities, which include educational exhibits and a native plant sale. Check the website at for full details as plans come to fruition.

Directions to Glacial Heritage Preserve: From I-5, take the Maytown exit.  Go west on Maytown Road SW to the town of Littlerock.  Continue straight west as Maytown Road becomes 128th SW unitl 128th SW ends at Mima Road. Turn left on Mima Road and travel south for a couple of miles past Bordeaux Road until you reach the Weyerhaeuser tree nursery. Continuing, you will see a road sign displaying a farm tractor on the right. The turnoff to Glacial Heritage is the gravel road immediately to the left after the tractor sign. Drive the gravel road for about a mile to the event parking area.
Contact Bob Wadsworth (360-561-3317) if you have questions about the birdwalk.
Sign-up is not necessary.

May 9 (Sat.)

9:00 a.m.- Noon

Field Trip:    Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge with Seniors
Tracey Scalici

Although this field trip was originally scheduled by Olympia Senior Services for its seniors, there is no reason why Black Hills members could not join the group. Tracey Scalici, not merely a birder but an expert birder-by-ear, will help you and the seniors discern the sight and songs of Nisqually's diverse birds. This trip would be especially appropriate for beginning and intermediate birders. Depending on how far the group gets, you are, of course, welcome to walk further out on the boardwalk or elsewhere at your pleasure.
May 9 (Sat.)

9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Event:   15th Annual Backyard Wildlife Festival
Location: Tukwila Community Center, Tukwila, Washington

Celebrate wildlife, nature and gardening at this annual festival, which will include presentations by local gardening experts Marianne Binette and Sue Goetz, along with a variety of educational exhibitions, arts and crafts vendors, and a native plant sale.
See for more details.
May 10 (Sun.)

8:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

BHAS Field Trip:       Pioneer Park for Families and Children
Leaders: Mary Russell and Patrea Stoddard

This trip is specifically designed for children and their families. Pioneer Park in Tumwater boasts meadows, woods, Deschutes River, marsh, soccer and baseball fields, and playgrounds. In spring there are many different bird species active, busy, and visible at Pioneer. We will explore Pioneer's paths and bird with a heightened awareness of young people's attention spans and need for movement.

Black Hills Audubon asks parents to supervise their own children and ensure their safety. Please sign the waiver of liability when you arrive at the park. Feel free to leave the group at any time if it is clear that your children and you have had enough. Pioneer Park has playground equipment and myriad paths to explore.
Finally, practice using binoculars with your children, to help their viewing experience be as successful as possible.
Request Pre-registration. So that we have an idea of numbers, please register with Mary Russell by e-mailing her at .
May 14 (Thurs.)

7 p.m.

BHAS Monthly Program Meeting 

Presentation:     "Washington State Wolves"

Dave Ware, new Wolf Policy Coordinator for WDFW, will provide a presentation on the status of wolf recovery in Washington. The state adopted the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan in December, 2011. Washington’s wolf population is growing and spreading. However, the jury is still out on whether Washington citizens are ready for wolves and the management challenges they present.

Monthly program meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month (with the exception of March, June, July, and August) at:

First Christian Church
701 Franklin Street SE
Olympia, WA 98507

Arrive at 7 p.m. to socialize; programs begin promptly at 7:30 pm.

May 16 (Sun.)

6:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

BHAS Field Trip:      Tenino and South County for Tireless Birders
: Paul Hicks

We'll visit a variety of habitats and locations in South County in a quest to find 70+ bird species. Expect plenty of “action” as migration will be in full swing and birds in full song. Tireless, hard-core birders who like a faster pace and a “more-the-merrier” approach to one day's list will have a blast. Special emphasis will be placed on passerines and birdsong.
Dress for the weather and bring a hands-free pack for water, food, field guide, and other equipment or supplies. Please note that bathroom facilities will be few, if any. Group size limited to 12.

Pre-registration required. Call or text Paul Hicks at 360-870-3819 for reservations. Meet at 475 Sussex Avenue West on the main drag in Tenino near Tenino High School. Participants will be able to head home at any time. If the weather is rotten, call Paul after 5:45 a.m. at 360-8709-3819 to check for cancellation.
May 14-17
Event:         Leavenworth Spring Birdfest
  Leavenworth, Washington

The Leavenworth area features spectacular habitats ranging from snow-capped mountains to sunny ponderosa pine forests, lush riparian zones to shrub-steppe. All field trips during this festival are led by experts and professionals in their field. Learn about the wide variety of migratory birds that come to the Leavenworth area for the breeding season. Hear birdsongs sung only during the breeding season while you stroll, bike, boat, or van during the height of wildflower season.

While birding is the heart of the weekend, activities also include wildflower walks, arts events, and family activities to ensure fun and learning for birders of all ages and skill levels, with enough built-in "down time" to explore the friendly Bavarian village of Leavenworth. See for more information.

May 14-18 (Thurs - Mon) Event:      Meadowlark Nature Festival
Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, British Columbia, Canada

For three years running, the Meadowlark Nature Festival has been voted the “Best Annual Community Event in the South Okanagan”. The festival has evolved into one of Canada’s premier outdoor nature celebrations offering over 90 environmental tours and events held under the open sky, which take people from Canada’s unique desert to the alpine meadows high above the Okanagan Lake. People from across North America and as far away as Europe now come and enjoy the activities led by prominent naturalists, educators, artists, experienced guides and scientists.

For full details and information, go to .

May 23-25
(Sat. - Mon)
Event:       WENAS Campout
: Wenas Creek Campground

Every Memorial Day weekend, members of Washington's Audubon chapters and their families and friends gather at the primitive, yet free!, Wenas Creek Campground in the Wenas Valley, on the east side of the Cascades between Ellensburg and Yakima, to enjoy the natural surroundings, abundant bird life, and each other's company. There are campfire programs every evening and guided field trips for birds and wildflowers everyday. Love of nature of all kinds means there may be insect hunts and bat hunts as well.

See  for more information; the website will be updated soon.

May 29 (Fri.) BHAS Class:       "Birding by Ear" - An Introduction

Instructor: Paul Hicks


“Birding By Ear”

When:  May 29, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
            Plus choose between two
            separate field trips, June 6th
            or 12th.

: Grace CommunityCovenant
            5501 Wiggins Rd. SE, Olympia

Instructor: Paul Hicks

Cost:    $10

To Register: Contact Mary Russell at or 360-357-6863.

Please join us for our BIRDING BY EAR class on Friday, May 29th, from 6:30-8:30pm. This will be a lecture/discussion followed-up with an early morning field trip--a choice between either the 6th or 12th (or possibly 15th) of June. Our instructor is long-time birder Paul Hicks. Paul has been birding by ear since high school.

Many birders find birding by ear particularly challenging, yet it opens up a whole new dimension of identifying and enjoying our avian friends. Paul hopes to introduce BBE to beginning birders as well as enhance the skills of more advanced birders. The class will focus on song recognition--not highly technical but homework and practice will be assigned.

Participants are encouraged to bring field guides, gadgets, or apps that they have found helpful. The class is $10 and includes the lecture and one of the field trip dates. The lecture component will be held at Grace Community Covenant Church. Directions will be supplied with registration.

Lecture size is limited to 24 to allow for two comfortable sized field component groups. Preregistration is required. To register, please contact Education Chair, Mary Russell, at or call 360-357-6863.

As always, check our Black Hills Audubon website for the most up-to-date information about upcoming classes. We post if a class is full, as well as any classes scheduled after the ECHO publication deadline.

May 30 (Sat)

8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. or noon

BHAS Field Trip:      Woodard Bay for Beginning and Intermediate Birders
Sam Merrill and Tracey Scalici

This walk is designed primarily for beginning and intermediate birders. We will look and listen for woodland birds such as Swainson's Thrushes, Pacific Wrens, Brown Creepers, Pacific-slope Flycatchers, and Pileated Woodpeckers as we walk through the deep forest of cedars and Douglas fir and approach Henderson Inlet, where we may see Cormorants, Purple Martins, Great Blue Herons, sea ducks, and seals and seal pups basking in the sun, among other birds and animals.

We will explore the approximately 2-mile loop, which includes an easy forest trail with boardwalk sections, returning by a pedestrian-only road. The Department of Fish and Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy have been hard at work restoring Woodard Bay's shoreline, tidal flats, and viewing areas this winter - it will be interesting to see their completed work. Bring water, snacks, and binoculars.

To reach the Woodard Bay Natural Resource Conservation Area from Olympia, take Boston Harbor Road north. Turn right on Woodard Bay Road, crossing Libby Road. There is a small parking area on the left just before crossing the bridge over Woodard Bay.  A Discover Pass is required for this parking lot. Or, drive over the bridge and up the hill. At the top of the hill is a county parking lot which does not require a Discover Pass. It's an easy walk back down to the lower parking lot.
(Attention bicyclists: The Chehalis-Western Bike Trail's northern span spits you out into the upper parking lot. Coast down the hill to the Woodard Bay parking lot. There is a bike rack a little ways up the pedestrian-only road as you enter the preserve where you can lock up your bicycle.)

Pre-registration required.  Limit 15 persons.  Call the BHAS line at 360-352-7299 to sign up.

June 6 (Sat.)

7:30 am, and

9:00 am

BHAS Field Trip/Event:       Birding & Breakfast

Want to get a head start on your weekend? Join us for Birding and Breakfast on the first Saturday of each month. Bird with us at 7:30 a.m., then enjoy breakfast at a local restaurant at 9:00 a.m.

Or, if you’re a late riser, just join us for breakfast and we’ll tell you what birds are in the area. Beginning birders are welcome.

             7:30 am:   Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (Visitor Center Observation Deck)
                            100 Brown Farm Rd NE, Olympia

             9:00 am:   Breakfast at Norma’s Burger at I-5, 10322 Martin Way East, Olympia

June 6 (Sat.)

9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

BHAS Field Trip:       LOTT Hawks Prairie Reclamation Ponds
  Bonnie Wood and Janet Wheeler

This trip to a surprisingly rich, if humble, local birding site is appropriate for all levels of birders, including children. We will walk the easy level gravel paths among the ponds, parcels of woods, and marshes. We will expect diverse species, because the ponds here attract ducks, raptors, wading birds, passerines, and others. For the last few years, a pair of Bald Eagles has nested in a Douglas Fir above the ponds.

Meet at the ponds' parking lot at 9:00 a.m. The ponds are located at 3001 Hogum Bay Road, west of I-5 off the Hawks Prairie exit. See a map at
Dress appropriately for the weather and bring binoculars.

To sign up, contact Bonnie Wood at  or 360-943-4612.

June 7 (Sun.)

8:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Field Trip:     McLane Creek Nature Trail
   Mary Russell

The McLane Creek Nature Trail consists of an easy 1.4-mile loop trail winding through a variety of habitats. This is a perfect area for birders of all abilities to spot and hear large numbers of our local birds courting, nesting, feeding, and protecting territory. The heart of the area is a large beaver pond which is home to birds such as Tree Swallow, Violet-green Swallow, Red-winged Blackbird, Song Sparrow, Common Yellowthroat, Belted Kingfisher, Pied-billed Grebe, and Wood Duck. The surrounding coniferous and deciduous woodlands provide habitat for Black-capped Chickadee, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, White-crowned Sparrow, Spotted Towhee, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper, Bewick's Wren, Pacific Wren, Marsh Wren, Swainson's Thrush, Black-headed Grosbeak, Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, Warbling Vireo, Anna's Hummingbird, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Northern Flicker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, and possibly more. There may be beaver activity in the pond, and the Rough-Skinned Newts are always fun to spot. It's rich habitat.

To get to McLane from Olympia, head west on US 101 for 2 miles. Take the Black Lake Boulevard exit. Proceed south (left off the ramp) on Black Lake Boulevard. In 3.5 miles the road turns west and becomes 62nd Avenue. Continue 0.7 mile to a stop sign and turn right onto Delphi Road. In 0.5 mile turn left into the McLane Creek Demonstration Forest. Reach the trailhead in 0.4 mile. There are two parking lots, an upper and lower. Meet at the covered picnic area by the lower parking lot. Restrooms are available.
Please dress for the weather. Bring water, snacks and/or lunch as needed.

To sign up, e-mail Mary Russell at, or call the BHAS message line at 352-7299.
June 11 (Thurs),

5 p.m.

BHAS Monthly Program Meeting: 

Presentation:  BHAS Annual Picnic

Join like-minded friends and meet new ones at the annual celebration at Picnic Shelter #2 in Priest Point Park. We generally start at 5 p.m. with some casual birding, then break for the potluck picnic that begins at 5:30. We supply paper plates, serving utensils, soft drinks, and hot dogs. Bring a side dish to share with the group such as salad, hors d’oeuvre, dessert, or bread. Bring your own place setting if you can.

Monthly program meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month (with the exception of March, June, July, and August) at:

First Christian Church
701 Franklin Street SE
Olympia, WA 98507

Arrive at 7 p.m. to socialize; programs begin promptly at 7:30 pm

June 13 (Sat.)

7:30 a.m. - about noon

Field Trip:   Scatter Creek and Mima Mounds
Craig Merkl and Bob Wadsworth

This field trip has a little bit of everything: birds, botany, butterflies, as well as two knowledgeable and energetic leaders. Explore the birds and plants at two choice South Sound prairie sites near Olympia: Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve and Scatter Creek Wildlife Area.

At Mima Mounds, prairie flowers, prairie birds, and some butterflies will probably offer us opportunities to see and inspect them. Our last stop will be the south section of Scatter Creek Wildlife Area (180th Ave. and Guava) for additional opportunities to see prairie birds and plants.

Meet to park at the new McLane Fire Station at 125 Delphi Road. This new fire station is at the intersection of Delphi with Mud Bay Road, and there is a stoplight there. We'll carpool from there. Please dress appropriately for the weather, and bring water and lunch. Please also bring a Discover Pass if you have one, as the sites require it. We'll eat around the pond at Scatter Creek and should return to the cars no later than early afternoon.
June 16

12 p.m. -
2:00 p.m.

BHAS Field Trip: 

Mazama Gophers and Streaked Horned Larks at the Olympia Airport

Leader:    Michelle Tirhi, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Michelle's has offered BHAS members the chance to visit restricted areas at the Olympia Airport (South Sound prairie habitat) to see endangered Mazama Gophers (in fact we may only see their mounds) and Streaked Horned Larks.  Michelle says there is a chance also to see Oregon Vesper Sparrows.

Meet at the airport's office parking lot. The field trip will include time for brief overviews of larks and gophers as well as viewing.

June 18-21
Event:      Dean Hale Woodpecker Festival
    Sisters, Oregon

Organized by the East Cascades Audubon Society, the Dean Hale Woodpecker Festival sees 11 species of woodpeckers and over 200 species of birds in total every year. Led by experienced birders, the festival is timed to see young woodpeckers leaving their nests. For full information and details, go to
Aug. 6 (Thurs.)

6:30 a.m. - late afternoon

Field Trip:   Mt. Rainier:  Wildflowers and Casual Birding
Jan Sharkey and Kristin Stewart

Join us for a Mt. Rainier wildflowers trip – on a Thursday, so we can avoid the weekend crowds. Please note: the date for this trip may change depending on snow and flower conditions at Paradise.

We will go for a relatively easy and slow hike and enjoy the views, the flowers, and any birds we happen upon. We plan to hike a fair distance but at a leisurely pace. Be aware we will start our walk at Paradise at 5100' and climb up to 6000'. Folks who do not want to hike too far are welcome to join us for as long as they wish and to stop along the way. As is usual on the mountain, be prepared for all weather conditions. Bring food and water. If you have FRS radios, they might also be useful.

Meet at the Martin Way Park and Ride at 6:15 a.m. to leave by 6:30. Call Jan Sharkey at 360-943-8786 or Kristin Stewart at 360-456-5098 to sign up.