Taxpayers and migrating Vaux’s swifts have something in common.
The birds are moving into Snohomish County airspace from their wintering grounds in Mexico and Central America, usually arriving close to the dreaded must-be-postmarked date for our taxes, which is April 18 this year.
While the date of the first sighting varies a bit, a University of Oregon spotter sighted 31 swifts just after sunset April 9.
Thousands will stop in Monroe, resting for the night in the chimney at Wagner Elementary School.
While the southbound racks up eye-opening numbers (142,599 total; 2,832 average count), the spring migration north is not as number-oriented but just as fascinating.
In the spring of 2016, the total number of swifts using the chimney was 97,335, with 1,248 average per night and a high count of 8,422.
But in September 2016, about 12,000 birds were counted in one night as they spiraled into the chimney, cuddling up in layers and recovering their energy before continuing south.
They’re heading our way.
Chihuly’s hummingbird. Strictly speaking, hummingbirds aren’t the creative master of glass sculptures. But there is a great connection shared by reader Beverly Bower.
“After reading your Sunday article on finding hummers’ nests, I had to tell you about finding one!
“Apparently, a bright little hummingbird thought a perfectly safe nest would be in a tree hidden among the glass “Flowers” (at the Chihuly Garden and Glass next to the Space Needle)! Hummers are seen every year nesting around the Chihuly sculptures. The employees are very protective of their ‘visitors.’”
Barns, Burgers & Brews. That’s the theme for the 35th McClinchy Mile Bike Ride on April 30. The first ride was held Oct. 3, 1982, with five loops out of Monroe and 43 riders paying the $5 entry fee.
B.I.K.E.S. Club of Snohomish County sponsors the ride that starts in Arlington. Choose between flat or hilly 28-, 33- or 44-mile loops, or ride them all for a challenging but scenic 105-mile century ride. Or take a free family ride on the Centennial Trail.
All routes are on paved roads or trails and loop back to the starting point in Arlington. Food stops and support are included in the $45 fee. Register by April 20 for the post-ride burger and commemorative beer glass. Visit bikesclub.org/mcclinchy for details. All routes are on paved roads or trails and loop back to the starting point in Arlington.
Freebie (if you don’t count our taxes). April 22 is Earth Day as well as a free day at state parks. A Discover Pass is not needed, although while you’re there, help out your parks system with a $30 annual pass.
Grizzly comments. The time for public comments on federally proposed alternatives on grizzly bear restoration into the North Cascades ecosystem has been extended to April 28.
The public is invited to view the draft EIS and submit written comments through April 28, 2017, online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grizzlydeis or via regular mail to Superintendent’s Office, North Cascades National Park Service Complex, 810 S.R. 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284.
Always something new. Rock ‘n’ roll will never die … A bright glowing pink-clawed species of pistol shrimp has been discovered on the Pacific Coast of Panama. According to Science Daily, it’s been named Pink Floyd in honor of the discoverers’ favorite rock band. Synalpheus pinkfloydi is the scientific description of the species.
Pistol shrimps have an ability to generate substantial amounts of sonic energy, just like Pink Floyd. By closing its enlarged claw at rapid speed, the shrimp creates a high-pressure cavitation bubble, the implosion of which results in one of the loudest sounds in the ocean — strong enough to stun or even kill a small fish, according to researchers.
Columnist Sharon Wootton can be reached at 360-468-3964 or email@example.com. Her column runs the first and third Sundays of each month.