OUTDOORS: Swans arrival imminent, report sick or dead birds

TRUMPETER SWANS HAVE taken to spending the winter in Dungeness Valley fields in growing numbers in recent years likely drawn to the growth of farming operations, most notably by Nash’s Organic Produce.

Arrivals tend to begin this month and the elegant-looking birds stick around until the temperature begins to warm up in March.

Typically, Sequim will see the most swans between January and March before they fly north to Canada and Alaska, Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society member Bob Boekelheide said earlier in 2018.

The largest number of swans counted in the Sequim area has been 258 in February of 2017.

Swans also are routinely spotted near Neah Bay, particularly the marshy areas near the mouth of the Waatch River. And swans have been known to spend time in the Chimacum Valley as well.

In 2011, six swans were belived to have died of lead poisoning after ingesting lead ammunition in the Dungeness Valley.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has re-established a hotline to report dead, sick, or injured swans in northwest Washington counties as part of its ongoing effort to assess the impact of lead poisoning on trumpeter and tundra swans.

People can call 360-466-4345, ext. 266, to report dead, sick or injured swans in western Washington. Callers should be prepared to leave a short detailed message including their name and phone number, location and condition of the swans.

The hotline is available 24 hours a day through the end of March.

Lead shot has been banned for waterfowl hunting in Washington since 1991. But swans can still pick up and ingest lead shot while foraging in shallow underwater areas, in fields and roosts where lead shot is still present.

Swans are also vulnerable to collisions with power lines.

People who observe dead, sick, or injured swans are advised not to handle or collect the birds, said Daniel Zimmerman, a biologist with Fish and Wildlife.

Instead, people should call the hotline, he said. Fish and Wildlife employees, as well as volunteers from the Northwest Swan Conservancy Association, will pick up the birds.

The state agency and other organizations have been working since 2001 to locate sources of toxic lead and minimize potential exposure through management actions.

Razor clam digs

A series of evening low tide digs begins tonight at ocean beaches.

The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates, and evening low tides:

• Today, 6:57 p.m.; -0.8 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

• Friday, 7:36 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis

• Saturday, 8:15 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

• Sunday, 8:56 p.m.; 0.0 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis

Another dig has been tentatively scheduled for Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 22-25, pending results of future toxin tests.

Anglers meet in PT

State Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Puget Sound Recreational Salmon Fisheries Managers David Stormer and Mark Baltzell will speak at Tuesday’s meeting of the East Jefferson Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers.

The meeting will be held in the Port of Port Townsend Commissioners’ Meeting Room, 333 Benedict St. in Port Townsend, beginning with a social half hour and refreshments at 6:30 p.m. and the business meeting following at 7 p.m.

The public is invited to attend.

Sail and Power Squadron

Chief Orlando Rivera of the Maritime Force Protection Unit is the guest speaker at the next North Olympic Sail and Power Squadron meeting, set for 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, at The Cedars at Dungeness, 1965 Woodcock Road. A social hour is followed by a short business meeting, dinner and a speaker. This event is free and open to the public, a dinner tickets are $25 per person.

Rivera, executive officer on the Coast Guard Cutter Sea Fox stationed at the Bangor Submarine Base, will address the mission of the MFPU and how it affects citizens and boaters, and what boaters need to know in Pacific Northwest waters.

For more information about this meeting or the North Olympic Sail and Power Squadron, visit www.north olympicboaters.com.

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