Yolo Basin Foundation docents will lead a free public tour of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 8. Covering 25 square miles, the Wildlife Area is located in the heart of one of the country’s richest agricultural areas, alongside one of America’s busiest freeways and next to the bustling Sacramento metropolitan area.
The 16,000-acre Wildlife Area is home to nearly 200 species of birds, including belted kingfishers, American wigeons and northern harriers.
Compact and stocky, sporting a ragged crest on an oversized head and a long dagger-like bill, the belted kingfisher is easily identifiable and most likely seen perching over calm, clear bodies of water. Both the male and female are slate-blue on top with mostly white undersides. The male has one slate-blue breast band, while the female has a blue and a rust-colored band.
Feeding mostly on small fish, from a perch or a hover, the kingfisher will dive head-first into the water to capture its prey. Belted kingfishers nest in burrows dug into open vertical banks near or adjacent to water.
Yolo Basin Foundation and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife welcome members of the public to view these and other species on the monthly public tour of the Wildlife Area. All interested tour participants should meet a few minutes before 9 a.m. in Parking Lot A, at the west end of the Yolo Causeway bridge. Directions are also available at www.yolobasin.org.
Participants should bring 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. Tours run rain or shine and no reservations are necessary.
For more information, call Michael Herrera at 530-757-1018 or visit www.yolobasin.org.
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 Wildlife.