The city of Davis and Yolo Basin Foundation invite community members to join docents at the Davis wetlands for a free guided tour from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday.
The presence of top predators, like birds of prey, is often indicative of a healthy habitat. The diversity of small mammals, birds and amphibians at the Davis wetlands attracts raptors such as northern harriers, white-tailed kites and red-shouldered hawks.
Harriers flush potential prey by gliding smoothly near the tops of tule and cattails. Kites hover as high as 80 feet off the ground searching for small mammals. Red-shouldered hawks are perch hunters, waiting on a branch or post until they see their prey.
Mature red-shouldered hawks have a black-and-white banded tail, orange-red head and underparts, and darker red patch on the shoulder. They are medium-sized with broad, rounded wings. Red-shouldered hawks are known to return to the same nesting sites year after year. Both sexes build or refurbish the nest.
There are five subspecies of red-shouldered hawks. Four are found on the East Coast and just one isolated subspecies is found on the West Coast.
All those wishing to join the tour should meet a few minutes before 3 p.m. at the gate in front of the Davis wastewater treatment plant, east of the Yolo County Landfill on County Road 28H. Participants should bring their own binoculars, water (there is no potable water on site) and field guide. Docents will have spotting scopes to enhance wildlife viewing.
Most of the tour is by car on firm gravel roads, with a couple of optional short walks in the wetlands. A portable toilet is available on the route.
To reach the wastewater treatment plant, head north on Pole Line Road, turn right on Road 28H and go 3 miles east, just past County Road 105. The group meets at the gate east of the intersection.
This is a free tour. No reservations are required. For more information, call Michael Herrera at 530-758-1018 before the day of the tour, or visit the Yolo Basin Foundation website at www.yolobasin.org.
The Yolo Basin Foundation works in cooperation with the city of Davis to offer the Davis wetlands tours. Tours are offered the first Saturday of each month. Yolo Basin is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the appreciation and stewardship of wetlands and wildlife through education and innovative partnerships.