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Shorebird Waterfowl and Waders Monitoring Research

In Biological Monitoring, Bird Monitoring, Birds, Research by Administrator

Description of monitoring Twice each spring and fall during peak migration, volunteers identify and count shorebirds, waterfowl, and waders at low tide during timed watches at four defined areas of Reserve wetlands and adjacent areas. Surveys are carried out by boat (from the main channel) and land.  (An additional site is also surveyed at high tide). The experience is challenging …

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Shorebird and Waterfowl Monitoring Research

In Biological Monitoring, Bird Monitoring, Birds, Research by Administrator

Past shorebirds and waterfowl monitoring in and around Elkhorn Slough (1989-2000) Over the last several decades, various shorebird and waterfowl monitoring has been carried in and around Elkhorn Slough. From 1989-2000, for example, Sue Shaw faithfully recorded all shorebird and waterfowl seen during her regular visits to measure water quality at 24 stations. The stations were located along the entire …

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Raptor Monitoring Research

In Biological Monitoring, Bird Monitoring, Birds, Research by Administrator

Elkhorn Slough Reserve hosts a variety of breeding raptors. In a typical year, there may be 2 pairs of white-tailed kites, 1 pair of red-tailed hawks, 1 pair of red-shouldered hawks, and 4 pairs of barn owls. These top carnivores are often good indicators of ecosystem health: if they fail to reproduce successfully, this may be the result of pesticide accumulation …

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Snowy Plover

In Birds, Coastal Dunes, Mudflats, Open Beaches, Slough Life by Administrator

High intertidal flats, salt ponds Snowy Plovers lay their eggs directly on bare sand, just above the intertidal zone. The Snowy Plover is a fluffy, pale, sparrow-sized shorebird. Besides Elkhorn Slough, it is native to the Pacific coast from Washington state to Mexico. It can be identified from other similar shorebirds by the dark patches on the sides of its …

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Great Horned Owl

In Birds, Grasslands and Scrub, Slough Life, Woodlands by Administrator

Woodlands, grasslands, barn nestbox Great horned owls are the only animal that regularly eats skunks. The Great Horned Owl is one of the most common and widespread owls in North America, being found from the Arctic Tundra, to the arid desert, to tropical forests to urban settings. Their name comes from the tufts of feathers on their heads or “horns” …

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Caspian Tern

In Birds, Mudflats, Slough Life, Tidal Channels by Administrator

© Julie Chen Tidal wetlands, islands with low vegetation in salt marsh Caspian terns are the world’s largest tern species. The Caspian Tern is a large gull-like tern with a black cap and a large, thick coral red bill with black tip. The world’s largest tern species and is found on all continents except for Antarctica. Population is increasing in …

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Brown Pelican

In Birds, Harbor and Bay, Open Beaches, Slough Life, Tidal Channels by Administrator

© Mike Kelley Monterey Bay, Beaches, Harbor, mudflats and open waterways. Pelicans can live to be over 30 years old. With a wing span of nearly 79 inches, the Brown Pelican is hard to miss. it can be seen along the beaches and open water, gliding effortlessly close to the waves, and diving from great heights for food. Being the …

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Cliff Swallows

In Birds, Slough Life, Staff Blog by Dave Feliz

“When the swallows come back to Capistrano That’s the day you promised to come back to me When you whispered, farewell in Capistrano Was the day the swallows flew out to the sea.”   This lovely song written by Leon Rene and first performed by the Ink Spots in 1940 illustrates how humans are affected by the rhythmic migration of …

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Acorn Woodpecker

In Birds, Slough Life by Administrator

Oak, pine and riparian woodland habitats. Look for Acorn Woodpeckers along the South Marsh Loop Trail. Seen year-round. Woodpeckers have the longest tongues of all birds. You can see these birds in action at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve along the South Marsh Loop Trail. They eat a variety of foods including nectar from trees, insects, flowers, a …

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Caspian Tern Monitoring Research

In Biological Monitoring, Bird Monitoring, Birds, Research by Administrator

Since the early 1990s, a colony of Caspian Terns – the world’s largest terns – has bred on an island in the Reserve’s restored South Marsh area. The colony has suffered various disasters over the years, from pesticide contamination during the 1995 floods to raccoon predation in 2000. The 2001-2003 breeding seasons had excellent reproductive success, but were followed by …