Friday, April 24, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

At the Pond: Summertime is for easy living

dragonfly 3W

Widow Skimmer is just one of the varieties of dragonflies now at the ponds and hanging around in gardens or places near water. Jean Jackman/Courtesy photo

By
From page A6 | June 22, 2014 |

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

— John Muir

This is not a real birdy time at our local ponds. It is the time between spring and fall migration. Most of the youngsters have fledged. We have some breeding birds left and perhaps breeding another round. But train your binoculars on the dragonflies and damselflies to see some beauty.

Out at the North Davis Ponds, on our first-Saturday-of-the-month walk led by Ed Whisler, we observed 22 bird species in 1 1/2 hours — a pretty-cool number for this time of the year. We were delighted to have photographer Beth Savidge along and she has shared her photos on our Facebook page, Friends of North Davis Ponds. She lives over near West Pond and also shares photographs on Facebook Friends of West Ponds. You don’t need an account to view the photos and read all of the news.

The photo treasures of the day were the dragonflies, and we saw at least three varieties.
They are a fascinating insect with nearly 6,000 species. We find them around water because most of their lives are spent underwater in a larvae, nymph or naiad aquatic stage. They may spend as long as five years maturing in the aquatic stage. The winged adults we see are set up to breed and may fly around for just a couple of weeks or a year. Some migrate; the globe skinner flies more than 11,000 miles.

Dragonflies have been around since prehistoric times, since before the dinosaurs, though in a much larger form, with a 2 1/2-foot wingspan. California has 108 species. We welcome them as they eat mosquito larvae during the aquatic stage and mosquitoes in the flight stage. And birds eat the dragonflies.

Former Yolo Basin Superintendent Dave Feliz once related how he kept watching Swainson’s hawks flying above and finally figured out what they were doing. They were catching large dragonflies with their feet, eating them like corn on the cob and throwing away the wings.

If you want to photograph dragonflies or get close to them with binoculars, approach from the rear because they have large compound eyes that can see upward and to the sides. Make sure you don’t cast a shadow. If you do scare them, back off and they often return to the same perch.

The West Pond has a bird stroll the first Wednesday of the month. The next will be July 2 at 8 a.m. at the gazebo. The North Davis Ponds bird stroll will be the first Saturday, July 5, at 8 a.m. Meet at the parking lot next to the Northstar Pond. There will be even more dragonflies by then.

————
If you want a bird-friendly yard, you need to provide water in addition to habitat, food, nest material and nest boxes. A large robin visits daily to frolic in our bird bath. We also have a small water feature that we turn on during an outside dinner. The birds are drawn to the sound and water. Some sit right in the miniature waterfall.

However, since we have to worry about West Nile virus, we add a portion of a mosquito dunk, sold at the hardware store. The dunks are safe for the birds and kill mosquito larvae before they’re old enough to bite. For a bath, you can use something as simple as a plant saucer or an old frying pan and set it on the ground. They like ground level. It’s more like a natural puddle.

A clean bird bath is a real bird magnet.

————

Last weekend, we rafted and kayaked the American River starting at Sunrise Bridge with our daughter’s family. You can park your car and rent your equipment right there and then spend the day going with the current. Get out at River Bend Park and catch the raft company shuttle back to your car. Or, you can do what we normally do. Lock an old bike at River Bend and use your own equipment at Sunrise. At the end, one person bikes back along the bike trail to the car for our own save-money shuttle.

The water was a delicious temperature, and we have never seen so much wildlife up close there, including geese, ducks, cormorants, mergansers, egrets, turtles, turkeys, great blue herons, swallows, vultures and hawks. Folsom Lake is at 63 percent of the historical average for this date and since we are supposed to have a hot summer, June is the time for that trip. We trail our cooler in an inner tube. Bring an air mattress for alone time. Lovely.

————

All of our lovely areas are there because of citizen effort. Pick an issue, write a letter, donate and make a call to legislators to make a difference. Big Oil alone spent $268.9 million in the past 15 years on lobbying and campaigns in Sacramento. Let’s all pitch in and not take beauty for granted. And kiss each day.

— Jean Jackman is a Davis resident; her column is published monthly. Got a story, question, correction? Contact her at [email protected]

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    New design submitted for conference center

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Water and power have a troubling interdependency

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

     
    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    College Night set April 30 at DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    School board hears report on health services

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

     
    Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Learn basics of composting in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

    By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

    Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

     
    Thanks for supporting the arts

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Bike Swap another success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Drink is a tasteless insult

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    The fight for gender pay equity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    It’s a depressing beat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    ‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5