Thanks Stan. I had suspected as much. This has been going on since I bought the car last July. When I asked the dealer's mechanic about it he said it probably wasn't worth fixing. Although those parts are not terribly expensive, there would be lots of labour so he estimated about $CDN800 to replace them. The clutch itself seems hardly worn at all judging by the position of the piston in the slave cylinder. So the only reason to take it apart would be to replace the release bearing and the pilot.
So the question is are other bad things going to happen if I do nothing for a while. I have had the car for about 7 months and only added less than 5K miles to it (now at 180,000). As I mentioned before the noise is only there periodically, but it is irritating when it happens. Can I safely do nothing for now?