Listen up, everybody!

Nature Mapping Jackson Hole will host a potluck dinner from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, at the Center for the Arts in Jackson.

We’re celebrating six (!) years of citizen science and public participation. The potluck and evening is open to the public and free. Bring a dish to share. Everybody is invited, from young people to those in the “who, me old?” category. There won’t be much speechifying, but there will be a talk in the auditorium by renowned nature and science author David Quammen.

Quammen is a modern thinker and a writer who covers science, nature and travel. A former columnist for Outside magazine, he has written innumerable articles as well as 15 books, including “The Song of the Dodo,” “The Boilerplate Rhino” and “Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic.”

The Nature Mapping Jackson Hole potluck is enough of a draw to get you out on March 24, but an opportunity to hear David Quammen is the cherry on top of the whipped cream.

Briefly, Nature Mapping Jackson Hole’s purpose is to provide a receptacle for wildlife observations made by citizen scientists — you and me — to be recorded, organized and made available to planners, elected officials, game managers and the like and, also, back to you and me. It’s an all-volunteer citizen science effort, educational, fun, sometimes exciting.

Nature Mapping Jackson Hole is operated by the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation and supported by the Meg and Bert Raynes Wildlife Fund. Some of its current efforts include Moose Day in Teton County, the Osprey Monitoring Project, Snake River floats with AJ deRosa Wooden Boat Tours, a kestrel (sparrow hawk) project, the Mountain Bluebird Nest Box Project, investigations of local amphibian populations and more. Wonderfully busy and devoted volunteers and friends.

You, too, can be a nature mapper. Instructional classes are offered year-round. For details please go to NatureMappingJH.org.

And come to the potluck on the 24th. Eat and learn and enjoy.

Field Notes: On some early March days in 2015 it seems a person can almost notice how fast snow sublimes from the side of a building with southern exposure.

Yesterday there were interesting small mammal tracks in the snow that simply needed to be studied more carefully. Missed them.

Many reports — deserving of Nature Mapping — of voles running about by day on top of snow or the valley floor. Could they be doing their spring cleaning? Here and there chipmunks are out. Wonder if any marmots have ventured out at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.

Male red-winged blackbirds are setting up territories and calling in the marshes adjacent to the visitor center on the north end of Jackson. Susan Patla reported at least one female redwing on Saturday.

Reports are coming in from the Idaho side about returning red-tailed hawks.

Starlings, all spiffed up for spring, are beginning to show up in the Hole. Catch sight of one in good light and check it in your binoculars. Pretty nifty.

Waiting for robin and mountain bluebird reports. ... This just in: Patla saw a robin in Teton Valley, Idaho, on Sunday.

Some returning hawks. Cassin’s finches have shown up (Joe Bonner, Saturday). Always on the lookout for black rosy-finches. The current study of this subset of rosy finches would welcome any sightings. Call Patla at 413-1222.

It’s time for sage grouse hormones to lead the birds to their leks. Maybe too early for serious strutting, but still ...

Bert Raynes©2015

Bert Raynes writes weekly on whatever suits his fancy with a dash of news on nature and its many ways.

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