The city of Davis wetlands will be open for a free guided tour from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4. All bird lovers and those who appreciate nature are invited.
The Davis wetlands are 400 acres of constructed wetlands adjacent to the city’s wastewater treatment plant northeast of Davis. The area — which includes seasonal wetlands, permanent wetlands, riparian woodland and grasslands — provides flood control, wildlife habitat and advanced wastewater and stormwater treatment.
The wetlands provide habitat for resident and migratory species including great egrets, northern pintails and American kestrels.
The American kestrel is the only kestrel in the Americas and is North America’s smallest falcon. It is one of three North American raptor species that exhibit significant sexually dimorphic plumage. Both sexes have a slate-blue cap, black mustache and sideburn markings, light undersides and rusty-orange and black colored backs. Males have slate-blue colored wings whereas the wings and tail on females match the orange and black plumage of their backs.
Hunting from a perch or facing into the wind to hover, American kestrels feed on insects and small mammals, reptiles and birds. Unable to excavate for themselves, they nest in found cavities such as abandoned woodpecker holes, rock crevices and nest boxes.
All those wishing to join the tour should meet a few minutes before 3 p.m. at the gate in front of the wastewater plant on County Road 28H, east of the Yolo County Landfill. 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.
This is a free tour; no reservations are required. For more information or directions, call Michael Herrera at 530-758-1018 before the day of the tour, or visit the Yolo Basin Foundation website at www.yolobasin.org. Tours are offered the first Saturday of the month year-round.
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.