Birding field trip to the Highlands June 17

Submitted photo Community members observe birds during OHA's 2011 Highlands Wonders event at Lost Lake.

Submitted photo
Community members observe birds during OHA’s 2011 Highlands Wonders event at Lost Lake.

Okanogan Highlands Alliance (OHA) is teaming up with the Okanogan Land Trust (OLT) to offer an educational birding field trip in the Okanogan Highlands on Saturday, June 17.

Songbirds are most active first thing in the morning, which makes it the best time of day to see and hear a diversity of species. The event will begin at 7 a.m., with the first stop at a private landowner’s property in Wauconda. The second stop will be a birding hike through OHA’s Lost Lake Wetland and Wildlife Preserve and along the lake to observe the loons, followed by a finger food potluck picnic lunch.

Participants will walk in small groups to create a pleasant setting for watching and listening, with guides including George Halekas, Lee Johnson, Todd Thorn, and others. The groups will have a specific focus, such as species diversity (seeing as many different birds as possible) or exploring soundscapes (e.g. listening to bird vocalizations in real time using a parabolic microphone to hear things that the ear alone cannot hear). This field trip will provide an opportunity for those with an interest in birding to interact with other curious community members and to learn more, firsthand, about the birds of the Okanogan Highlands.

Participants are invited to stay at Lost Lake after lunch if they wish, and enjoy swimming, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, or whatever personal recreational activities they enjoy. Field trip registration is now open to the general public, provided that spaces are available, since priority registration has already been given to current OHA and OLT members. Registration is limited, so be sure to sign up right away if you are interested. Event registration is being conducted by OHA, while carpooling for registered participants will be coordinated by OLT.

OHA is a non-profit organization that works to educate the public on watershed issues. The Highland Wonders educational series features the natural history of the Okanogan Highlands and surrounding areas. OHA’s Education Program is designed to build the community’s capacity for environmental stewardship by increasing understanding of local natural history through a variety of free public learning opportunities. OHA recently released an album of original music as a fundraiser. Community members wishing to support OHA’s free educational events and other programs can purchase either a digital download of the album or a CD at www.okanoganhighlands.org/music/highland-voices. CDs are also available at the Tonasket Natural Foods Co-op.

Established in 2002, Okanogan Land Trust (OLT) is a local nonprofit organization connecting people to the land and conserving and sustaining our working farms and ranches, wildlife habitats, and water resources for generations to come. OLT currently holds 25 conservation easements on more than 8,700 acres, and serves eastern Okanogan County and western Ferry County in north-central Washington.

For more info or to register for this event, contact julie@okanoganhighlands.org or call Julie at 509-476-243

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.