The city of Davis and Yolo Basin Foundation invite community members to join docents at the Davis wetlands on Saturday, Aug. 3, for a free guided tour from 9 to 11 a.m.
The wetlands act as haven year-round to many resident and migrating bird species. This time of year, young ducks and juvenile birds abound, flocks of migrating shorebirds are passing through on their seasonal migration, and many perching birds such as the loggerhead shrike and Western kingbird thrive in the adjacent fields.
The loggerhead shrike, endemic to North America, is a robin-sized bird with gray head and back, white underparts, black tail and wings and a black mask. Loggerhead shrike are sexually monomorphic in that both male and female have similar plumage.
Known as the “butcher bird,” shrikes use their large hooked bill to dispatch their prey, which mostly consists of insects and small mammals. They also will eat birds, reptiles and amphibians. Shrikes are known to create a cache of food by impaling prey on thorns, barbed wire and broken twigs. The term loggerhead is a reference to a large head in proportion to the size of the body.
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.
To reach the wastewater treatment plant, head north on Pole Line Road and turn right on County Road 28. 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 Michael Herrera at 530-758-1018 before the day of the tour, or visit the Yolo Basin Foundation website at www.yolobasin.org.
The foundation works in cooperation with the city of Davis to offer the Davis wetlands tours. Yolo Basin is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the appreciation and stewardship of wetlands and wildlife through education and innovative partnerships.