Nesting Avocets at USTP
- 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
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
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.