As winter draws to an end and water levels recede, opportunities to view a variety of shorebirds increase in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area east of Davis. Recently sighted species include American avocets, black-necked stilts and least sandpipers.
Representatives of the Yolo Basin Foundation and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife invite members of the public to view these and other species on a public tour of the Wildlife Area from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 9.
The least sandpiper, the world’s smallest sandpiper at 4.75 inches tall, is a common winter resident in the Central Valley and the Wildlife Area. Its mottled reddish-brown back has black spots and two thin, white lines in breeding plumage. Its winter plumage is a duller brown. Its legs are yellow, which distinguish it from the western sandpiper. In late winter, small flocks of least sandpipers preparing to migrate north can be seen moving in unison over mudflats and flooded fields.
All interested tour participants should meet at 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. 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.
Further directions to reach the tour are available on the Yolo Basin Foundation website at www.yolobasin.org. The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is owned and managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
A $5 donation is suggested from all trip participants. Children under 12 and members of the Yolo Basin Foundation are free. For tour 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.