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Volunteers sought for Lake Lawrence bird study

[BY CAROLYN CHEW]

An exciting citizen science bird study is currently being conducted near waterfowl concentration areas by Lake Lawrence in southeast Thurston County. The monitors are made up of mostly residents from the surrounding area and Black Hills Audubon Society members. The group would love to have new members join the project.

The surveys are occurring in an area of high quality bird habitats including a 120 acre wet meadow currently being restored, the Deschutes River, Lake Lawrence and a 23 acre state-designated waterfowl concentration wetland. Concerns that birds while in their diurnal and seasonal travels could collide with a 160-foot cell phone tower being proposed next to these habitats is prompting this citizen science effort.

The citizen group prepared a study plan, which then was peer-reviewed by the Washington State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. The survey’s goal is to identify priority bird species in the area and determine local migratory flyways near the proposed tower site.

The citizen group of 20-plus dedicated individuals so far has worked every Thursday in 2017 for a total of 250 hours and will continue working through April and possibly extend through the summer months. Surveys are done for three hours after sunrise and three hours before dusk. Bald Eagles, American Kestrals, Virginia Rails, Red Tail Hawks, Great Blue Herons, Bufflehead, Merganser and Gadwall ducks are some of the birds often seen from the three monitoring posts.

New volunteers are welcome and can be trained by experienced birders while conducting the survey. The area is pristine and lovely, with an unimpeded view of Mt. Rainier. Please join our community effort and you will have fond memories of a secret beauty in southeast Thurston County. For more information, please contact: Carolyn Chew 360/446-0468, or email ourwildliferocks@gmail.com.

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