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Nesting Avocets at USTP

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  • Matthew Matthiessen
    Greetings all. I m very happy to report that our AMERICAN AVOCET couple that has been at the USTP since May 26 has decided to start a family! This morning,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2001
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      Greetings all. I'm very happy to report that our AMERICAN AVOCET couple
      that has been at the USTP since May 26 has decided to start a family!
      This morning, June 1, I dropped by the USTP to see if anything
      interesting was around. As soon as the north pond came into view I
      stopped and scanned the west end. Initially all I saw was a single
      avocet standing in the water among the foliage. But then I noticed the
      second bird sitting on a mound of dead plant matter. At this point a
      figurative light went on in my head. As soon as I started walking again
      the bird that was sitting down flew off to the east, circled back to
      where I was walking and started circling me, all the time calling
      loudly.

      As I proceeded east along the north side of the pond the second bird
      took flight and began circling me as well. After walking about a
      quarter of the length of the pond I stopped and scanned the area where
      the sitting bird had been. I'm happy to report that the bird had been
      sitting on a nest containing three eggs.

      The nest is about a hundred yards from the west end of the pond and
      about 30 feet south of the north shore. I photographed it as well as I
      could and then departed as the new parents were very upset. As I left I
      stopped at the southwest corner of the pond for a final look and
      observed as one of the birds crept back to the nest and began incubating
      again.

      This appears to be Mendocino County's first nesting record for AMERICAN
      AVOCET. If anyone goes to see the nest, the easiest way to locate it is
      to stop at the southwest corner of the pond and scan the north shore
      until you locate the avocets. One of them most likely will be sitting
      on the nest. The incubating bird will probably leave the nest as soon
      as you walk closer than the southwest corner. Therefore I urge anyone
      who visits the nest to disturb the pair as little as possible. Please
      have a look at the nest and the leave quickly so that the birds can
      resume their parental duties. Feel free to scope from a distance the
      avocets are comfortable with.

      One thing I did notice is that the water level in the north pond is
      higher than it was when I was there on Tuesday. For the most part, the
      mudflats that were exposed on Tuesday are now underwater. If the water
      rises much more this nest will most likely fail as the eggs are only a
      few inches above the water as it is.

      Again, please use care when visiting this area and disturb the birds as
      little as possible (if at all). Thanks.

      Good Birding
      Matthew Matthiessen
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