Get Intimate with the Shrub-Steppe &
Yakima River Canyon Bird Fest

Friday May 12- Sunday May 14, 2023

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Registration Opens January 2023
EVENT SCHEDULE COMING SOON

A free community event highlighting the endangered shrub-steppe habitat in Central Washington. The event starts Friday with an evening social gathering, Saturday is filled with expert guided field trips with birding, geology, snakes and reptiles, fish and river bugs, history, and more. Educational booths are set up with free educational materials and other outreach materials and we highlight affinity environmental and natural resource groups from around the state. Saturday evening brings a keynote speaker with a shrub-steppe focused theme. Sunday includes self-guided field trips and additional guided field trips into the shrub-steppe.

24th  Anniversary!

Join KEEN (Kittitas Environmental Education Network) in May and discover the natural beauty of
Ellensburg, Kittitas County, and Central Washington State!

 

The Yakima River Canyon is an Audubon Important Bird Area (IBA) with some of the highest densities of passerines and birds of prey in the State. The extensive cliffs, shrub-steppe, and riparian cottonwood forests provide a rich mixture of habitats for animals, plants, reptiles, and insects. Particularly important are the immense basalt cliffs and talus slopes interspersed with shrub-steppe vegetation, which support a diverse assemblage of birds associated with this habitat, including White-throated Swift, Cliff Swallow, Rock Wren, Canyon Wren, and 21 species of raptors. Ten of these raptor species breed in and around the canyon, including two pairs of Golden Eagles and five pairs of Prairie Falcons.

 

The cliffs and shrub-steppe habitat also support dense populations of Red-tailed Hawks, American Kestrels, and Great-horned Owls. Up to 20 Bald Eagles winter along the river, subsisting primarily on whitefish. The riparian habitats along the river and its tributaries support a high diversity and abundance of bird species, including Lazuli Bunting, Pine Siskin, Evening Grosbeak, Bullock’s Oriole, Sage Thrasher, Mountain Bluebird, Say’s Phoebe, Williamson’s Woodpecker, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Cedar Waxing, Northern Spotted Owl, and American Pelican.

Plan ahead! Some of our field trips require parking passes from state or federal entities. Each field trip has the needed passes identified, so be sure you are ready. Also, grab a hotel reservation early - Ellensburg is popular in the spring!

REGISTER HERE!
 

Event Overview

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Friday May 12, 2023

GISS & YRCBF Social Evening 

 

Saturday May 15, 2023 9am-1pm Environmental & Conservation Booths
@ Yakima Canyon Interpretive Center
Kittitas Environmental Education Network, Yakima Canyon Interpretive Center, Kittitas Audubon, Conservation Northwest, Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, CWU Reptiles of our Shrub-Steppe, CWU Zooarchaeology Lab, Teanaway Community Forest, Ellensburg High School/CWU Small Creatures, Kittitas County Conservation District, CWU Museum of Culture & Environment,  Yakama Nation Pacific Lamprey Outreach Team, Cacti of the Shrub-Steppe, Trout Unlimited, Knox Cellars Mason Bees & Swarovski Optiks, WA Native Plants Society, Puget Sound Energy, Yakima Fly Fishers Trout Unlimited, Kids Activities, and more!  

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Saturday May 15, 2023 

6pm Keynote Speaker

 

Saturday May 15, 2023

7:30pm

Live Music with... 

 

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Expert-Led Field Trips
 
May 15 & May 16


Pre-Register for Activities Here


Self-guided field trips can use WA Audubon Sun & Sage Loop Map

 

FRIDAY MAY 12

REGISTER HERE!
REGISTER HERE!

1. Friday
May 12

6pm

The Pearl Bar & Grill 

SATURDAY MAY 13

2. FIELD TRIP

6am-9am

 

@Umptanum Creek Recreation Area

3. FIELD TRIP

7am-11am

@ Whiskey Dick Recreation Area

4. FIELD TRIP

6am-9am

@Yakima Firing Center

5. EDUCATIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL BOOTHS

9AM-1PM

@Yakima Canyon Interpretive Center

6. FIELD TRIP

9am-11pm

@Umptanum Creek Recreation Area

7. FIELD TRIP

9:30am-11:30am

@Umptanum Creek Recreation Area

8. FIELD TRIP

10:30am-1pm

@Selah Cliffs - Nature Area Preserve

8.5 FIELD TRIP

11am-12pm

@Yakima Canyon Interpretive Center

9. FIELD TRIP

12pm - 1pm

@Yakima Canyon Interpretive Center

10. FIELD TRIP

12pm - 1pm

@Umptanum Creek Recreation Area

10.5 FIELD TRIP

2pm-3:30pm

@Kittitas County Historical Museum

11. FIELD TRIP

12pm - 1pm

@Yakima Canyon Interpretive Center

11.5 FIELD TRIP

1pm - 3pm

@ Masterson Public Access

12. FIELD TRIP

1:30pm

@Umptanum Creek Recreation Area

13. KEYNOTE SPEAKER & LIVE MUSIC

6pm-9:00pm

@Cornerstone Pie

SUNDAY MAY 14

14. FIELD TRIP

7:30am-11am

Various Locations

Raptors of Kittitas County with Deb Essman and Jerry Scoville

15. FIELD TRIP

10am-12pm


@Gingko Petrified Forest & Trails

Trailside Museum & Trees of Stone with Keyna Burger

 

Walking field trip; duration 2 hours;

Meet at Trailside Museum Trailhead on Old Vantage Highway. 

From Ellensburg drive east on Interstate 90 to exit 136 for Huntzinger Road. Take this exit, then turn left and drive 2.5 miles past Vantage to the Ginkgo Petrified Forest Interpretive Trails parking lot. Signs guide you along the way. Facilities are available at the trailhead.

Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, near Vantage, is known for its petrified wood, but it also has excellent examples of shrub-steppe habitat. We will walk the 3 mile trail and see a number of different species of desert-parsley (Lomatium), phlox, and desert-buckwheat (Eriogonum); along with Carey's and Hooker's balsamroot, lupine, and other spring blooming wildflowers.

Drivers will need a Discover Pass.

Plant List: www.wnps.org/plant-lists/list?Rocky_Coulee

 

Keyna Bugner- keynabugner@gmail.com; 620-803-2382

16. FIELD TRIP

10am-9pm

@Wildhorse Wind & Solar Facility

ACTIVITIES AT WILDHORSE WIND FARM & VISITORS CENTER
 

Choose one or more of these activities and enjoy one of the best places to see shrub-steppe habitat and wildflowers in Kittitas County!

10-11am  Wind Turbine Tour 

2-3pm  Wind Turbine Tour 

3-3:30pm  Wildflower and Wind Power Presentation 

3:30-5pm  Wildflower and Wind Power Walk 

5:00pm Wind Turbine Tour 

6:15-8pm  Wildflower and Wind Power Walk

8-9pm  Full Flower Moon Program

17. Self-Guided Birding Tour

@ Irene Reinhart Riverfront Park

Self Guided Birding Tour

Take a self guided Birding Tour at Irene Rinehart Riverfront Park near the heart of Ellensburg!  All that is needed is to download the Adventure Lab app on your phone, which will guide you through the tour: https://labs.geocaching.com/goto/0d751f70-ee81-4f4c-a9ad-fd05a53657a7

 

Tour Description: Take a birding tour of Irene Rinehart Riverfront Park and the Reecer Creek Floodplain, where over 160 bird species have been observed. This adventure visits five different habitats that host a diverse population of birds. Learn about which birds can commonly be seen at different times of the year, and see them yourself!

 

The birds are most active in the early morning. Consider downloading the app Merlin, which helps with visual and sound bird identification. For information on species occurrence visit: https://ebird.org/barchart?r=L884476&yr=all&m= 

 

Irene Rinehart Riverfront Park is a 117 acre park adjacent to the Yakima River. You can access the park from Umptanum Road and walk a trail along the Yakima River, or from late spring to early fall the ponds can be accessed by road. Alternatively, the Reecer Creek Floodplain can be accessed from Rotary Park. There is a walkway that runs under interstate 90 that connects the Reecer Creek Floodplain and Irene Reinhart Riverfront Park. 

Event Sponsors

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