Nesting waterfowl and shorebirds in cattle grazing area at Tule Lake(Sonora Bridge CG)

Observers: Tony Brake & Yvonne McHugh
Remote Name:
Date: 06/09/2004
Time: 05:21:19 AM


On 6/8/04 we observed a surprising variety of waterfowl and shorebirds nesting and in courtship display in the marsh area adjacent to Sonora Bridge Campground, shown as Tule Lake on the Toiyabe National Forest map. When I first noticed this spot a week earlier, there were cattle grazing all around this area. Does anyone know if there has been any effort to protect this unique area during nesting season? It appears to be a very small area of a privately owned land within the National Forest. Maybe the cattle grazing could be restricted during the vulnerable nesting season. We observed the following species: A pair of American Coots with two chicks. The adult male was observed chasing off gadwall and ruddy ducks in an an “alligator” posture. Two pairs of Cinnamon Teal, with one set of chicks. One pair of Gadwall, with the male in eclipsed plumage. One pair of Green-Winged Teal. A pair of Killdeer, which was acting as if they had chicks nearby. A pair of Ruddy Ducks, with the male in mating plumage and in courtship display. There were numerous (>10) Yellow-Headed Blackbirds visible, with females occasionally seen. Many Red-Winged Blackbirds were also observed. The previous evening we saw a Common Snipe in “winnowing” flight display. We also observed in the area: A Northern Flicker, an adult Red-Tailed Hawk, a pair of Warbling Vireos, a pair of Western Wood-Peewees, one Clark’s Nutcracker, numerous American Robins, Cliff Swallows and Violet-Green Swallows. The previous week, I (TB) saw a pair of Phalaropes.