Local News

Wetlands visitors may see shorebirds, swallows

By From page A14 | March 30, 2014


The number of tree swallows, pictured, increases greatly during the spring and summer months. Jim Dunn/Courtesy photo

The city of Davis and Yolo Basin Foundation invite community members to join docents at the city of Davis wetlands from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, April 5, for a free guided tour. Tours are offered the first Saturday of the month year-round.

It’s the season for shorebirds and swallows. Some shorebirds — such as long-billed curlews, least sandpipers and greater white-fronted geese — are simply passing through on their way to their summer breeding grounds. Others, like black-necked stilts and American avocets, will increase in numbers in the wetlands over the next few months.

Although there is a standing population of tree swallows in the area, their numbers swell for the summer. Additionally cliff, barn and violet-green swallows return to the valley in great numbers.

The tree swallow is a swift, agile aerialist that feeds mainly on flying insects. They are dark on top and white below. A mature male has a dark, iridescent blue-green face and back. Females and juveniles lack the iridescent coloring.

The tree and violet-green swallow are very similar in shape and shading. White cheeks and white above the eyes on the violet-green is one way to differentiate between the two. And compared to the long, forked tail of the barn swallow, the tail of the tree swallow is short and squared with a small notch.

All those wishing to join the tour should meet a few minutes before 9 a.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.
No reservations are required. For more information, call Michael Herrera 530-758-1018 before the day of the tour, or visit the Yolo Basin Foundation website at www.yolobasin.org.

Enterprise staff

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