Updates on the creek

It’s been quite windy the past few days.

Regardless, the creek has still been quite birdy and we have some nests! As of now there are 2 White-breasted Nuthatch nests that are ready for eggs (photo left). There are a handful of House Wren nests starting up (photo right), and a few early starts of Tree Swallow and Western Bluebird nests.

-Evelien de Greef

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Spring is here

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Tree Swallow

While signs of spring have been observed earlier this month, like blooming poppies and the arrival of Swainson’s Hawks, yesterday was the official first day of spring. This time last year the creek was flooded and a couple boxes were already getting filled up with nesting material. We’ll see in the next week how much the nest statuses will change, but as of now any nests that started have not progressed more than 1 layer of grass or sticks. To compare timing between this year and last year, we’ll have to wait for the first eggs dates.

We’ve gone through our box inventory and replaced and repaired missing and damaged boxes. A nice surprise we encountered was one box at Old Davis Rd that was missing last year when it flooded was found a couple weeks ago on the ground, full of mud but after a clean up it was good as new.

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Tree Swallow pair at nestbox

All the sites are ready now, and our team of undergraduate interns will start in a couple weeks! This year we have 25 student volunteers on board, the largest team for this project yet.

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Putah Creek at the UC Davis Riparian Reserve

-Evelien de Greef

Returning Bluebird, again!

This morning I had the pleasure of seeing the returning bluebird. It makes me incredibly happy to see him this season again! He’s been raising chicks in the same box every year since I was an intern 4 years ago. This will be the 5th spring for the both of us, him raising chicks, and me checking nestboxes. I didn’t get a great photo of his legs today but he did show black over pink on his left, and service on his right, the same bird I posted about on April 1, 2017.

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Western Bluebird male (Tufty) returning for a 5th breeding season!

While this spring will my my personal last field season with this project, I hope that it isn’t the last for this bluebird. He is getting old (at least 6 yrs old now), but still looking good!

-Evelien de Greef

Scoping Swallows

It’s swallow city at Interdam! There are tons of Tree Swallows scoping boxes at our most upstream site. Some of the other sites have been a bit more quiet. We haven’t seen any nests yet, only a couple early beginnings with 1 or 2 pieces of grass and a feather. Some boxes had lots of bird poo (birds using the box to roost), a couple had rat nests, a few spider webs, one box even had a pile of walnut shells (not sure where these came from since squirrels don’t fit in these holes). Anyhow, lots of prospecting now means lots of nests soon!

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Tree Swallow pair claiming a nestbox

On a side note, here’s a Rock Wren near Putah Creek, probably the same one from the post on March 16, 2017! Same spot as last year. 🙂

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Rock Wren

-Evelien de Greef