The Yolo Basin Foundation docents will lead a free public tour of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 9 a.m. to noon. October can be one of the best birding months of the year at the Wildlife Area, with many species migrating to the area for the winter.
Songbird activity is on the increase, with an interesting variety of resident and migratory birds being sighted in rice fields and riparian areas. In addition, increasing numbers of waterfowl, including northern pintail, northern shoveler and gadwall, continue to make an impressive show, arriving at sunset to join significant numbers of shorebirds in the wetlands. The numerous fall migrant species also include the American wigeon.
The medium-sized wigeon’s small, bluish-gray bill and the male’s white forehead distinguish this species from other dabbling ducks. The male also has a distinctive green iridescent line of feathers that run from the eye to the back of the head. Both males and females have a white patch on the flank lined with dark tail feathers. The wigeon uses its short bill to efficiently dislodge vegetation and can be seen leaving the water to graze in fields.
The Yolo Basin Foundation and the state Department of Fish and Game welcome members of the public to view these and other species on the monthly public tour of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. All interested tour participants should meet a few minutes before 9 a.m. 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.
Further directions to reach the tour are available on the Yolo Basin Foundation website at www.yolobasin.org.
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. This is a driving tour on gravel roads with several stops and short walks.
A $5 donation is suggested from all trip participants. Children under 12 and members of the Yolo Basin Foundation are free. Tours run rain or shine, and no reservations are necessary.
For more information, call Heidi Satter at 530-757-4828 or visit the foundation website.
The Yolo Basin Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the appreciation and stewardship of wetlands and wildlife through education and innovative partnerships. The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is owned and managed by the California Department of Fish and Game.