Friday, August 27, 2010

Dearth of dowitchers, plethora of plovers (well, killdeer...)

Nancy and I monitored shorebirds at CRP this morning and found very few dowitchers in any of the ponds - the largest sighting was an overflight. We did, however, find many Killdeer and ducks. The new ponds are starting to get choked with emergent vegetation - and emergent duck feathers! It was a breezy day but we had fun and found two interesting species - a Caspian Tern roosting nonchalantly in one of the ponds and two Pectoral Sandpipers foraging amidst a large group of Least Sandpipers.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

FFSS Update 08/22/10

Greetings Surveyors,

I was in the field last week and things are looking really good out there! Lots of peeps at Yolo and a good number of dowitchers at Cosumnes.

A few project announcements:

Project Blog
Remember, we’ve set up a blog for you to post your sightings and photographs from your surveys: We’d love it if you participated in this new tool. I’ll be posting the project update on the blog shortly.

Data Entry/CADC
If any of you were having trouble entering data for the new fields in CADC, the problem has been solved (hopefully). The new survey area numbers were not showing up in the drop-down list in CADC but are now available.

Road Conditions
We’ve been alerted to some less than ideal road conditions along the survey routes at both sites. At Yolo, the roads bordering Field 61 on the East, West and South are not in good condition and are covered in vegetation. We suggest that you walk to the southern end of the field to conduct your surveys. If this is not possible please use extreme caution when driving and parking along these roads; a low clearance vehicle could easily start a fire. Again, we suggest that you walk to the southern end of Field 61. At Cosumnes, the road along the south end of Field B-6 is also rough and vegetated and very wet and mushy in spots. It is also recommended that you park at the west end of the road (being careful to make sure you are not parked on top of dry vegetation) and walk the road to conduct your surveys.

Third Field at Yolo?
If you are interested on continuing to survey at the Yolo, there is a third field that will be flooded. Please contact Alex or I for more information.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Shorebird Survey - 20Aug2010

Yesterday was the first time I surveyed the “round 2” areas at CRP and it was interesting. There was far less emergent vegetation than in the round 1 ponds and some of the new ponds are hardly flooded at all. This led to a surprising observation – it is much harder to count dowitchers in a moist field than in a flooded one since the dowitchers and the dirt clods are about the same size! I won’t bore you all with the counts but the only semi-unusual species was a cattle egret.

I will add a note of caution to those of you who will be monitoring the CRP ponds – the levee that runs along the south side of the B-6 paddies (026, 019, and 006) is very rough and, at one spot, very soft and damp. I would highly recommend that you park at the west end of that levee road and walk to the three observation points to do your survey. To do otherwise invites getting stuck.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Welcome Shorebird Survey Volunteers!

Hi Shorebird Volunteers, 

Thanks so much for dedicating your time to count the birds and further PRBO and partners' conservation efforts!

We know that being in the field brings unique experiences that don't fit on the data sheet and we know how fun and important it is to share those special bird encounters, survey bloopers, etc. with others.  So we've created this space for you to do just that.

You can post pictures... like this!

Black Turnstone, Photo by David Gardner
And your videos too!

Have fun, be safe, and bird on!