Rice has been harvested and ponds flooded in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, setting the stage for migratory and seasonal waterfowl and shorebirds.
Members of the public are invited to join Yolo Basin Foundation docents on a public tour of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 10, to look for many species of birds dependent on this managed wetland habitat.
November is an excellent time to see waterfowl crisscross above the Wildlife Area, as shorebirds — such as least sandpipers, long-billed dowitchers and greater yellowlegs — wade in shallow water below, a news release said.
Behavior is often the key to shorebird identification. The greater yellowlegs sweep their long, slightly upturned bill side to side through the water, catching prey by feel. Active hunters, greater yellowlegs often race about pursuing small fish with necks extended. Their alarm call is a series of three or more piercing “tews.”
Usually a late fall migrant, this medium-sized shorebird has two-toned winter plumage, darker on top with a lighter underside and darker streaking than the similar but smaller lesser yellowlegs. Its long legs are bright yellow.
All interested tour participants should meet a few minutes before 9 a.m. in Parking Lot A (the first parking lot with the large bulletin board) in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area at the west end of the Yolo Causeway bridge. Further directions to reach the tour are available on the Yolo Basin Foundation website at www.yolobasin.org. 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. 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 Satter at 530-757-4828 before the day of the tour, or visit the foundation website.