Cranes and "Rollies"

Jim Chiropolos

My wife and I birded the Delta today. One of the highlights was a large group of almost 200 Sandhill cranes next to the road at the Holland Track. There were also lots of ducks and some geese at the Holland Tract, but most were far away and would require a spotting scope to ID.

The highlight of the day, however, was watching "rollies" at Clifton Court Forebay. Rollies, sometimes known of backrolls, were being practiced by a group of five river otters on a steep muddy bank at Clifton Court Forebay. (Note - "rollies" are not belly slides, another form of play by otters). It was quite a day for River Otters, with nine seen on the day with six at the Forebay and three at the Holland Tract. They are amazing fishers, as we watched two munching down fish. River Otters must have a very healthy bay area population, as in the last week, I have also seen River Otters at Lake Anza and San Pablo reservoir. They have all been quite tame passing by or playing within 40 feet or so.

Good birding (or ottering)

Jim Chiropolos, Orinda