More Tricolors in Potter Valley
- Fri, 30 Apr 2004 -- This evening I found a large flock of about 150
TRICOLORED BLACKBIRDS at the end of Burris Lane in Potter Valley. This
flock was rolling through the short grass pastures beyond the gate and the
vineyards. The regular occurence of Tricolors here is a new phenomenon of
the last several months. I suspect that they are breeding nearby -
possibly at a pond on private property over the hill beyond the gate and
which cannot be seen from public access. Some of the movement of Tricolors
this evening seemed to be to and from that area. Several years ago I saw
that pond and noted that it was heavily ringed with cattails - unlike the
Potter Valley, MEN, CA
- Mon, 24 May 2004 -- Last Wednesday Jim Armstrong and I confirmed the
nesting of several hundred TRICOLORED BLACKBIRDS at a pond on private
property in SE Potter Valley. This morning I saw several small parties of
Tricolors in the hayfields west of West Road about 2.5 miles from that
colony. Following up on their movements I discovered a second nesting
colony near a vineyard pond 1/4 mile N of the cemetery. The birds were
clustered in a hedge of Himayalan blackberries on the south edge of the
pond which is right along West Road. I would guess a minimum number of 200
birds here. Tricolors were drinking and gathering nesting material along
the edges of the pond and foraging in the vineyards to the west and north.
Males were noisily displaying in the blackberries and along the power cable
right above. I saw at least a dozen females carrying nesting material into
the blackberries. This colony appears to be in an earlier stage of nesting
than the first colony, which is now busy feeding many juveniles. There may
have been several independent juveniles at the second colony, suggesting
that this group may have bred elsewhere this year. I pass this area several
times a week, including last Wed, Thu, Sat, and Sun, and I don't think I
would have missed them that many times.
These Tricolors are easily seen from West Road, but there is no
convenient parking place close by. I suggest parking at the cemetery and
walking north on West Road about 1/4 mile to the pond. Be very careful with
the traffic. I have previously been asked not to park near the vineyard
gate to the north of the pond as it interferes with vineyard activities.
All of the nest building activity I saw was in the first 50 yards of the
blackberry hedge. There are some photo opportunities here, but I have read
that Tricolor colonies may be vulnerable to disturbance at this stage. Be
Potter Valley, MEN, CA
From Route 20 about 6 miles east of 101 turn north on Potter Valley Road.
After about 2.25 miles turn left onto West(side) Road. The cemetery is
about 2.5 miles further.