Monday, September 27, 2010

Last Week of Surveys

This week marks the end of surveys on our fallow fields at the Yolo Wildlife Area and Cosumnes River Preserve. It seems that the fields held out just long enough to get in this week’s surveys. Thanks for hanging in there and continuing to conduct surveys even as the water levels dropped and the vegetation increased. Your data still informs how shorebirds use these fields! We’ll be in touch shortly with more information about what to do with your datasheets, a summary of observations and how you can stay involved. Thanks again for all of your hard work and dedication!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Yolo mostly grasslands now

Yolo field 61 is now all but entirely drained of water. Grasses have filled in the northwest third of the field. In the southeast, there remain large sections of exposed soil, but the ground was mostly dry and apparently not attractive to shorebirds as I failed to come up with even a single target species. Savannah Sparrows and Horned Larks were the only birds making regular use of the field.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Site Conditions

A couple of updates on site conditions:

As you might have noticed, we are growing lots of weeds in the field at Cosumnes. Many of the survey areas are choked with vegetation except for fields B-6 and T-2. It appeared as though the water was off in T-2 and B-6 last week, however, and we are working with Holden, the wetlands manager at Cosumnes, and the rice grower to get the water turned back on. For now, please continue surveys in all of the fields at Cosumnes. The data still contribute to our knowledge of how shorebirds use fallow rice fields.

There are some problems with mosquito abatement and half of Field 61 was drained last week. Unfortunately, mosquitoes are still being detected and the entire field will be drained. I am waiting to hear from Dave Feliz, the Yolo Wildlife Area manager, to see if there will be another field for surveying. Look for more information later this week. Please continue surveys of Field 61 at Yolo until further notice. As the field drains we will be documenting how shorebirds respond to the change in water levels.

Thanks for your patience as we sort through these issues.

Have fun surveying!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The new Yolo field

I did my first survey of field 61 in the Yolo bypass today. As reported, the roads here offer more difficult access than had been true at field 68. Everything appeared recently mowed and I had no problems getting in by the wetland route (turning left at the hunting check-in point), but it did require a bit of guess work to find the best path.

There was fairly limited activity in the fields. Half of my points turned up no species. Most of the fields are well flooded, some as deep as seven inches. A flock of several hundred peeps occupied a ridge of moist clods in point 497Y, but no other spot showed many birds. A fair number of ducks and gulls flew in and out of the middle of the field but they mercifully stayed beyond the 200m stake, sparing me from counting them. Highlights were the four red-necked phalaropes in site 363Y and watching the peregrine that is regularly hunting this area.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Shorebird Survey - 2Sep10

Nancy and I did the shorebird survey at CRP today and the results were largely unimpressive. The dowitchers were present in substantial numbers in only one pond and the only unusual sightings were a Semipalmated Plover and a mink (yes, I do know that a mink is not a shorebird but I thought it worth mentioning anyway). In several of the ponds we spotted large numbers of a recently identified shorebird - Diddly squatumus (no common name yet adopted by the AOU but I'm going to suggest "Jack" - as in "we saw Jack in that pond"). As for the vegetation - it is at or near 100% in many of the ponds making flood/damp/dry estimates something or a problem.

I'm off for a week in San Diego so on our next survey date Nancy will be flying solo.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Video of Peeps at Yolo

For those of you who can't get enough here is some video of peeps foraging at Yolo:

FFSS Update 09/01

Greetings Surveyors!

Just wanted to make you aware of a couple of items:

Yolo Roads:
There’s been some concern over the condition of the roads used to access Field 61 at Yolo. There are two ways to access Field 61, the field road that immediately surrounds the field, or a winding road through a restored wetland (that is currently dry) just to the south. The road immediately surrounding the field is very narrow, covered in vegetation and has not been regularly maintained. There are a couple of very narrow areas but it is still useable with caution. The winding road through the wetland is also in rough shape but wider. This road parallels the immediate field road but turns south at the west end of the field and there is a large area of vegetation between the road and the field. Both roads will be mowed and hopefully disked to smooth out the surface. Paths will be mowed through the vegetation from the wetland road to the south end of Field 61.

After Labor Day, we will no longer be surveying Field 68 at Yolo. We don’t have the capacity to continue surveying both fields. Thanks to those of you who helped continue surveys of Field 68 this long!

Data Entry:
The data is looking great! Thanks for revising your data when asked to do so, it really makes a difference!

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Have a great week!