The yellow-billed Loon is a species often seen during Protection Island Aquatic Reserve surveys. (Bob Boekelheide)

The yellow-billed Loon is a species often seen during Protection Island Aquatic Reserve surveys. (Bob Boekelheide)

Protection Island’s birds, sea life topic of talk

SEQUIM — The Protection Island Aquatic Reserve will be the topic of a presentation at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Bob Boekelheide will present “The Seabirds and Marine Mammals of the Protection Island Aquatic Reserve” at the next Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society meeting at the Dungeness River Audubon Center, 2151 Hendrickson Road.

Admission is free.

The reserve, established by state Department of Natural Resources in 2010, includes more than 37 square miles of marine waters around Protection Island, the largest seabird-nesting colony in the Salish Sea.

Since 2016, a group of citizen-scientists coordinated by the Port Townsend Marine Science Center have been surveying seabirds and marine mammals in the Aquatic Reserve.

Their research focuses on “who, when, and where,” trying to determine the annual cycle of birds and mammals using offshore waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and which areas of the Aquatic Reserve are most important for their use.

Boekelheide, vice president of the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society and bird sightings chair, presents the most recent information about seabird distribution and abundance right out our back door.

For more information, visit olympicpeninsula audubon.org or call the Dungeness River Audubon Center at 360-808-4076.

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