Ripon WTP this afternoon


I went out to Ripon today to see what I could find. I started at the west end (south end of Jack Tone) and walked east. The first three ponds had very little water, just a couple of large puddles each, and not many birds and the fourth and fifth ponds were full and did not have much shorebird habitat but the sixth and seventh ponds had very low water and lots of exposed mud, so that's where I found most of the birds. There were hundreds of LB Dowitchers, but I could not find a single Short-billed, I counted over 50 Killdeer and 173 Greater Yellowlegs! The fifth pond was basically three large puddles and one of those puddles had a total of 55 Greater Yellowlegs alone! I also had one Semipalmated Plover, 14 Western Sandpipers, and six (but possibly as many as 8) LESSER YELLOWLEGS. I saw one, maybe two, good candidates for SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER as well, but as I was homing in to confirm, or confute, the ID they both flushed and I could not refind them.

I continued east along the fence south of the ponds to the western edge of the four large, square ponds at the east end and then walked the bike trail back to the west. Along the bike trail I had a few birds of interest: one each Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler (first-year) and Western Tanager. It was a good walk, a little over 2.5 miles in 5 hours, and boy are my feet sore! It was worth every painful minute, though.

Ralph Baker, Riverbank