Flyway Nights is a monthly speaker series highlighting environmental issues, current research topics in conservation, and natural history of Northern California.
Talks are scheduled at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month from November through April. This year’s events are going virtual, via Zoom.
Pre-registration will be required to receive event link. Flyway Nights is free to Yolo Basin Foundation members and open to the public. A $5 donation is suggested for non-members.
2020-21 Flyway Nights Schedule
Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 7 p.m.
Yolo Basin Foundation Graduate Student Fellowship Recipients
Boosting juvenile salmon survival using the rice fields in the Yolo Bypass – Rachelle Tallman, UC Davis Graduate Group in Ecology
It has been shown that Chinook salmon reared on rice fields have high growth rates due to the warm temperatures and high food concentrations found within these agricultural floodplains. Yet it remains unclear whether these growth rates result in higher survival to the ocean. Rachelle used acoustic telemetry to track juvenile salmon from Sacramento out to the Golden Gate Bridge in order to test whether raising salmon on winter-flooded rice fields had higher survival compared to fish reared in a laboratory (hatchery) setting. Rachelle’s research interests focus on improving fisheries conservation through alternative management strategies and developing a better understanding of how certain ecosystems function.
What do bats eat? Genetic analysis of bat guano – Ann Holmes, M.S. Graduate Group in Ecology & Genomic Variation Lab
As the sun sets on Yolo Bypass, thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats leave their roosts to feed. Scientists and farmers agree that these bats benefit rice and other Sacramento Valley crops by eating moths and other pests. However, the bats usually fly too far and high for us to observe their feeding behavior. Previous observations of bat diet have been limited to guano dissection. This study uses genetics to identify insects eaten by bats. I will describe how four undergraduate student researchers and I sampled bat guano in the summer of 2019 and 2020, how we use genetics to study bat diets, and what we expect to find.
Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 7 p.m.
Peaks, Valleys, and Farms: Insights into the complex heritage of Western red foxes
Sophie Preckler-Quisquater, UC Davis Mammalian Ecology and Conservation Unit
The Sacramento Valley red fox (SVRF, Vulpes vulpes patwin) is endemic to the northern Central Valley of California. It is considered a State Species of Greatest Conservation Need due to its decline in abundance from historical levels and restricted distribution. While its closest relative, the Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator) occupies high elevation, subalpine habitat, the Sacramento Valley red fox appears to be uniquely adapted to the semi-arid, lowland region that is its namesake. Along with habitat loss, hybridization with nonnative red foxes of fur-farm origin has been identified as a threat to the genetic integrity of the Sacramento Valley red fox along the southern edge of its range. Sophie uses a combination of traditional wildlife monitoring techniques and “next-generation” genomic tools to characterize the ecology and evolution of this endemic subspecies, and address the potential consequences of continued hybridization with the nonnative red population.
Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 7 p.m.
Current Status of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area
Joe Hobbs, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Manager
Are you up to date with all the changes in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area? Wondering about the new pipes, pumps and bridges? Joe Hobbs will fill us in with the updates about the exciting projects as part of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Habitat and Drainage Improvement Project!
The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Habitat & Drainage Improvement Project is led by Ducks Unlimited and supported by a coalition of partners, including California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Yolo County, Yolo Basin Foundation, and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
The project includes five major components that will enhance the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area’s ability to manage wetland resources and agricultural operations and is identified as the top priority in the Yolo County’s 2014 Yolo Bypass Drainage & Water Infrastructure Improvement. Project improvements will allow the CDFW to:
- Expand the acreage of managed wetlands within the wildlife area
- Increase the productivity of existing wetlands
- Improve management for rice fields
- Reduce on-site flooding from the South Davis Drain
- Increase CDFW and public access to the Wildlife Area
Joe Hobbs has been the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Manager since early 2018. Previously, he was the Statewide Elk and Pronghorn Coordinator. During his 18 years with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, he has worked in the wetlands program, timber harvest review, and the private lands management program. He also worked for the Department from 1992 to 1997 in Wildlife Management as a student assistant while going through undergrad and graduate school at California State University, Sacramento. Joe completed his M.S. on the Fall and Winter Distribution and Habitat Use of the Tule Greater White-fronted Goose in the Sacramento Valley, California.
Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 7 p.m. – REGISTER
Restoring Common Murres to Devil’s Slide Rock: A forty-year history of seabird conservation along the central California coast
Michael Parker – California Institute of Environmental Studies
Devil’s Slide Rock is a small nearshore islet located in San Mateo County. Despite its small size, this rock has become a significant symbol for seabird conservation. We invite you to join us for the story detailing the history of the murre colony at Devil’s Slide Rock. We will explore the decline and eventual extirpation of nearly 3,000 murres from this colony due to anthropogenic factors occurring in the 1980s, explain efforts started in the mid-1990s to use a novel restoration technique, known as social attraction (decoys, recorded vocalizations, and other props), to re-establish murre nesting at this colony, and discuss current efforts to protect this and other seabird colonies along the central California coast.
Mike worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex when he led the Common Murre Restoration Project from 1996 until 2002. Currently Mike works for the California Institute of Environmental Studies, a non-profit organization based in Davis that is dedicated to advancing the conservation of coastal and marine birds and healthy ecosystems through sound science, restoration, partnership, and community outreach.
photos courtesy of San Francisco Bay NWRC
Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 7 p.m. – REGISTER
It’s Not Just Birds – Plants of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area
The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area has an interesting combination of native and non-native plants. In this presentation, we’ll identify many of the common plants that you are likely to come across while you are visiting the public areas of the YBWA on foot or by car. Information on how to identify these plants will be shared, along with interesting tidbits of information.”
Photos by Charlie Russell
- Milk Thistle
- Common Sunflower
- Floating water primrose
- Field of Flat faced downingia
Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 7 p.m. – TBA
Yolo Basin Foundation offers Flyway Nights on the first Thursday of the month from November to April. A $5 donation to support the Foundation’s wetland education programs is suggested. Yolo Basin Foundation members are free. For more information, email Michael at email@example.com.