The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area has reopened just in time to let the public view the abundant species of shorebirds during the spring migration. Breeding plumage is prime and vocalizations are impressive.
Recent sightings near shallow ponds include snowy plovers, black-bellied plovers, black-necked stilts, greater yellowlegs and short-billed dowitchers.
Snowy plovers have been seen nesting in the Wildlife Area on flat stretches of rocky ground. These small, pale brown shorebirds have white under parts and dark patches that reach from the top of the chest to their neck. Males build shallow ground nests into which the female lays two or three spotted, buff-colored eggs.
Although the parents continue to brood, the young leave their nest within three hours of hatching and can walk, run, swim and forage independently. They will fly after approximately four weeks.
All interested tour participants should meet a few minutes before 9 a.m. Saturday, May 14, in Parking Lot A (the first parking lot with the large notice board) in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, at the west end of the Yolo Causeway bridge. No reservations are required.
Participants should bring their own binoculars, water (there is no potable water on site), insect repellent and field guide. Docents will have spotting scopes to enhance wildlife viewing.
This is a driving tour on gravel roads with several stops and short walks. Some access is restricted due to muddy road conditions. Tours run rain or shine.
A $5 donation is suggested from all trip participants. Children under 12 and members of the Yolo Basin Foundation are free. For more information, call Heidi at (530) 757-4828 before the day of the tour, or visit the Yolo Basin Foundation website at http://www.yolobasin.org.
Yolo Basin is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the appreciation and stewardship of wetlands and wildlife through education and innovative partnerships. The California Department of Fish and Game owns and manages the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area.