Members of the public are invited to join docents from Yolo Basin Foundation on Saturday, Oct. 6, on a free, guided tour of the city of Davis wetlands from 3 to 5 p.m. The change of season from summer to fall can be prime time to view shorebirds and anticipate the arrival of migrating waterfowl at the wetlands.
Two shorebirds commonly sighted in the wetlands in October are the American avocet and black-necked stilt. Both of these large, elegant shorebirds have long legs and striking coloration. The black-necked stilt’s black head; long, straight bill; and very long, red legs contrast to the avocet’s gray head; long, upturned bill; and blue legs. In breeding season, the avocet can be further distinguished by the cinnamon-colored plumage on its head and neck.
Occasionally, hybridization occurs between the American avocet and the black-necked stilt, resulting in an “avostilt” or “stavocet.” Although uncommon, one such hybrid has been sighted repeatedly this month foraging in the Davis wetlands.
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 waste water treatment station, head north from Davis 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.
The Yolo Basin 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.