Post-Mortem Cattails at the College - I saw one adult Common Gallinule
- I went out to the Mendocino College today to see it after the cattail removal. There was one adult Common Gallinule. It favors a willow on the south side in the west corner. It flies to the other side of the pond when disturbed, but really has no place to hide. The Redwing Blackbirds are still hanging around and some of them have moved down the arroyo to the south. There were 5-6 pairs before the devastation. I think there were an equal number of nests. Perhaps they are building 2nd nests.
There were two Green Herons present. They usually spent their time between the upper pond and the lower pond. By the way they acted, I always thought their nest was at the southern pond and they just foraged in the upper pond, but I am not positive.
I checked the southern pond and some young/small birds hurried around the point on the northeast end and hid. I hope for Gallinules but I think they were probably young Mallards. They did not come out of hiding while I was there so I could never see what they were. I have my fingers crossed.
- Wed, 13 June 2012 -- (Sorry for the delay) I went back to the Mendocino
College Pond (Sedimentation Basin) Wednesday morning about 9:00 to check the
aftermath and found one adult and four juvenile COMMON GALLINULES in the
water- mostly foraging along the NE edge. They certainly are easier to
find and count with all the cover gone. The juveniles were about 2/3 adult
size, their flight feathers beginning to grow, and two still had down
feathers clinging. I don't believe they were capable of flight. I'm a
little dismayed that Dave didn't find juveniles today (14 June). I hope
they found some cover somewhere.
I saw four adult Red-winged Blackbirds, two of which were feeding
recently-fledged, dependent juveniles, two of which were 'idle'. The Muskrat
was still there.
At the lower pond, with cattails still intact, there were about 15
red-wings, some were dependent juveniles and some were adults provisioning
nests deep in the cattails - taking food in and bringing fecal sacs out.
There was one adult gallinule in the lower pond bringing the total to six.
There was also a female Mallard with several half-grown young - maybe these
are what Dave saw on the 14th.
Potter Valley, MEN, CA
- Tue, 3 July 2012 -- I went back to the sedimentation pond at Mendocino College today on the three-week anniversary of the cattail removal. There were 14 small cattail shoots beginning to grow along the S. margin. After 30 minutes of watching I was able to account for three juvenile and one adult COMMON GALLINULES. Even though the normal cattail cover is gone, they are still secretive and can be out of sight for a long time in weeds or under willows. The juveniles ran from me along the pond margin - the adult flew from one side to the other. It doesn't seem that the juveniles can fly yet even though they are nearly adult size.
On the lower sedimentation pond, which was not denuded of cattails, there were two juveniles, bringing the total to 1 adult and 5 juveniles at minimum. There were no Red-winged Blackbirds on either pond ; it appears that their nesting is already over.
Potter Valley, MEN, CA
I just read this article about the importance of saving hollow snags and saving chimneys for swifts. I've written to Larry Schwitters who, I found out, is already monitoring the swifts that come to the Rio Lindo Academy in Healdsburg. He is curious about the chimney in Ukiah. I can't remember where it is or what its recent history is.
Can anyone tell me the address and what you know of usage by swifts in recent years?
- For everyone interested, here's what Bob Keiffer said about swifts:
"Kate, There are about three known swift roosting sites that I recall. I should have them in the records ...but no time to look now. 1) a redwood snag on Albion ridge, 2) I think it is "Silver Arches Retirement Home" (or something like that), in Ukiah on Perkins St. one block west of Dora, 3) Willits Skunk Station ..or nearby in one of the old railroad buildings."
- Michael Charnes and I went out in the kayak yesterday, August 1, to see the nesting grebes SE of Rodman Slough. A beautiful, heartening sight and sound. They are nesting in open water, not in the tules, on nests made of lake vegetation that they pile up on patches of pondweed (spp?) floating on the surface but anchored to the lake floor. I imagine open-water nesting is safer than nesting in the tules along the shore, as they are less vulnerable to mammalian predators. (On Long Tule Point on the south shore it's different, I think, because the tules extend so far into the water. I don't know the other nest sites on the lake.)
Some eggs were white, some brown, and one was bright blue. Some rushing was still happening, and quite a lot of chasing other grebes away from nests. Some nests had 3-4 eggs but more had only 1 or 2. Some eggs were on the edges of nests about to fall in the water, possibly from wakes created by boats. Once I saw a coot standing on the edge of an occupied grebe nest with no apparent tension between the two birds.
I also saw one male ruddy duck in glorious colors, and one female.
On Rodman Slough I saw one snowy egret and one white pelican overhead along with numerous great egrets and several black-crowned night herons. I've never seen Rodman so choked with Ludwigia and algae, but maybe I've never been there in August.
Didn't have time for the pond by the green gate as we didn't get off the water until 8 p.m.