Local residents are invited to join Yolo Basin Foundation docents on a free public tour of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area on Saturday, Feb. 9, from 9 a.m. to noon. This is the height of the winter birding season, and visitors will be able to view an abundant variety of species on the water and the wing.
Diversity can be at its greatest in the Wildlife Area in February. Waterfowl, shorebirds and wading birds forage in freshwater wetlands, raptors soar low and slow over field and marsh, and blackbirds flock in nearby crop fields. Winter also brings an array of white birds, such as the white pelican, great egret, tundra swan, snow goose and the small Ross’ goose.
The Ross’ goose is a small, white goose with black wing tips. Both males and females look like a small version of the more abundant snow goose. Its smaller bill lacks the “black lips” of the snow goose. It breeds in the Arctic and winters primarily in the agricultural fields and shallow wetlands of Central California. A strict vegetarian, the Ross’ goose eats sedges and grains and grazes on grasses.
The Yolo Basin Foundation and the Department of Fish and Wildlife welcome members of the public to view these and other species on the monthly public tour of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. All interested tour participants should meet a few minutes before 9 a.m. in Parking Lot A (the first parking lot with the large notice board) in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, at the west end of the Yolo Causeway bridge.
Further directions to reach the tour are available on the Yolo Basin Foundation website at www.yolobasin.org.
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. This is a driving tour on gravel roads with several stops and short walks.
A $5 donation is suggested from all trip participants. Children under 12 and members of the Yolo Basin Foundation are free. Tours run rain or shine, and no reservations are necessary.
For more information, call Heidi Satter at 530-757-4828 or visit the foundation website.