Northern shovelers may be seen in large numbers at the city of Davis wetlands on the Feb. 2 public tour. Sam Steiner/Courtesy photo

Northern shovelers may be seen in large numbers at the city of Davis wetlands on the Feb. 2 public tour. Sam Steiner/Courtesy photo

Local News

Ducks are dabbling at city wetlands

By From page A5 | January 27, 2013

Community members are invited to join docents from Yolo Basin Foundation on Saturday, Feb. 2, for a free, guided tour of the city of Davis wetlands. Recent tour reports include movement of flocks of ducks, with northern shovelers as the predominant species.

A large variety of other ducks — including buffleheads, gadwalls, American widgeons and northern pintails — may be seen in smaller numbers. Raptors, such as red-tailed hawks, also may be sighted.

The northern shoveler is named for its distinctive bill. Sometimes referred to as a “spoonie,” the male has a glossy, dark-green head and chestnut-brown sides similar to a mallard, but its long, broad bill and white chest make it easily distinguishable.

A dabbling duck, it shovels, scoops and strains aquatic plants and invertebrates from mud and water in a “tipped-up” position. The female has the same large bill but is drab brown in color.

All those wishing to join the tour should meet a few minutes before 3 p.m. at the gate in front of the city’s 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. Tours run rain or shine.

To reach the wastewater treatment station, 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 Heidi Satter at 530-757-4828 before the day of the tour, or visit the Yolo Basin Foundation website at www.yolobasin.org.

Enterprise staff

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