A Dusk Drive at the Yolo Bypass, 03-26-22

I caught up on my photos and worked on my website for part of the day, then got ready to leave for the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area with my friend Roxanne around 4:00 pm.

Wetland area along one of the trails

We were, again, specifically looking for the Yellow-headed Blackbirds that had been reported being there, and we wanted to check on the Great Horned Owl nest to make sure mama was still there. That time of day, I expected to see some flocks fly in, Night Herons, and other dusk dawn animals to be around, but there wasn’t anything that I thought I’d see.

I always told my naturalist students not to go out with a “single-species mindset”, because when you go out looking for something specific, you miss everything else, and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you get disappointed and feel the trip was a “waste”.  Well, I needed to take my own advice today, because I was frustrated and disappointed by not seeing what I wanted to see instead of cherishing the fact that I was actually able to get outside in nature with my buddy.

Apparently, this was a somewhat frustrating nature day all around for Roxanne.  She’d taken her friend T. out to Jepson Prairie early today for one of their guided tours, and she said most of the stuff we’d seen on Monday were already gone: dried, shriveled, dead. She was really shocked.

Anyway, once we got to the preserve, we drove the regular auto tour loop around, and walked down part of one of the trails. We got a glimpse of an otter’s head in one of the muddier pools, and saw a Bittern jump up out of the tules and fly off, but no photos of those. We were getting so “desperate” for photos that we were taking photos of ladybeetles, grass, and other stuff. Hah!

We did find a few Greater Yellowlegs, White-Fronted Geese, Ibises, and ducks, but no large flocks anywhere. We could hear Marsh Wrens buzzing in the tules and saw a few of their nests, but the little buggers weren’t cooperating for photos.

CLICK HERE to see the full album of photos.

Likewise, we could hear Meadowlarks singing, but had trouble spotting them. Then one flew up in the weeds near the passenger side back door of the car, so I tilted my camera out the front window hoping to get some video of him singing. Miraculously, the video actually turned out.

There was one other surprise, too.  Somehow I was able to spot a Sora peeking in out from between the tules in a stand quite far from the car. I got a few fuzzy photos of it.

It was nice to see mama Great Horned Owl sitting in her nest. The tree she chose is starting to leaf up. Pretty soon she and her nest will be obscured from sight from the road. Smart bird.

We left before it got too dark to see anything.

Species List:

  1. American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus
  2. American Coot, Fulica americana
  3. Black Mustard, Brassica nigra
  4. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  5. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  6. Bur Clover, Medicago polymorpha
  7. Cheeseweed Mallow, Malva parviflora
  8. Cinnamon Teal, Anas cyanoptera
  9. Common Checkered Skipper, Burnsius communis
  10. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  11. Floating Water Primrose, Ludwigia peploides ssp. peploides
  12. Golden Paper Wasp, Polistes aurifer
  13. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  14. Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus
  15. Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
  16. Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
  17. Hollyhock Rust, Puccinia malvacearum
  18. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  19. Ladybeetle, Seven-Spotted Lady Beetle, Coccinella septempunctata
  20. Least Sandpiper, Calidris minutilla
  21. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  22. Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris
  23. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  24. Northern Harrier, Marsh Hawk, Circus hudsonius
  25. Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
  26. Orange Sulphur Butterfly, Colias eurytheme
  27. Prostrate Knotweed, Polygonum aviculare [has tiny white flowers on the stem]
  28. Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis calurus
  29. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  30. River Otter, North American River Otter, Lontra canadensis
  31. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  32. Sora, Porzana carolina
  33. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  34. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  35. White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  36. White-Faced Ibis, Plegadis chihi
  37. Wild Mustard, Sinapis arvensis
  38. Willow, Salix sp.
  39. Yellow Sweetclover, Small Melilot, Melilotus indicus

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