Hi. I’m Walking Bob, and a reader named Betty Berteaux suggested that I might enjoy walking around two ponds in Davis, the West Area Pond, which is located between Arlington and Covell in West Davis and the North Area Drainage Pond, near the corner of Anderson and F Streets in North Davis. I had walked to the pond on Anderson, but had never been to the West Area Pond. It sounded like both ponds would be worth a visit.
I walked from my house up to F Street and then headed north until I came to Northstar Park and the ponds. A large goose, which someone told me was a Chinese Goose, seemed to be protecting the small pond in Northstar, so I headed over to the main gathering of birds, across the fence in the pond that was renamed in 2009 for our former mayor and is now known as Julie Partansky Pond. You’ll see a short observation area near the parking lot, but if you walk further south there is a long wooden walkway that takes you well out over the pond.
The pond is a protected wildlife habitat and there were plenty of Canada Geese, ducks, grebes, egrets, cormorants and other birds that could be seen easily from the observation decks or benches along the path around the pond. The geese were the noisiest inhabitants and seemed to be bothered by my telephoto lens, even though I was only shooting photos. I found that being there near sundown was a great time to see geese and egrets flying back in from wherever they spent the day and landing back in the pond.
A hummingbird hovered on a tree along the fence, attracting the attention of a cat that could be seen walking along the top of the fence, right above a sign that said, “birds only.” The cat seemed to know this might be a good birding area, although not in the way pond co-sponsors, the Yolo Audubon Society, envision when they say they want to “foster an appreciation of birds and other wildlife.”
On another day, I took the UniTrans P bus over to the West Area Pond and walked the trail that runs east of the pond from the corner of Shasta and Anderson to the UCD Medical Group offices on Covell. The sculpture pictured here marks the beginning of the trail. There was much more of a crowd on this trail with people walking, jogging, and biking along the winding path, and stopping along the way to walk up toward the fence or sit down on one of the benches along the way. One person pushing another in a wheelchair said this was a great place to just take a walk between treatments back at the medical offices.
There are signs posted at both ponds that give you a list of some of the birds, and vegetation, that you are likely to see, but I would have loved a few more pictures to match up birds with names. I see that the Audubon Society has a March 25 trip to the Yolo Farmlands that might be a chance for me to learn more so I can make a more informed walk the next time I go to the ponds.
Betty told me about a group called “Friends of West Pond” spearheaded by Gene Trapp and Jo Ellen Ryan that organizes plantings, weedings, and generally watches over the pond. They also co-sponsor a weekly birding and botanizing walk that begins at the Gazebo in the park near Isle Royale Lane. Ralph Hunter leads the walks, which are co-sponsored by the Yolo Audubon Society.
I’ll close with something that isn’t the greatest of photos, but it was a mystery to me. I saw this large bird at Julie Partansky Pond in late January. I spoke with several other people that saw the bird that day, and none of us could identify it. I probably could have just shown the photo to my friend, Terry Colborn, because he knows every bird in town, but I thought I’d throw it out here to see if anyone can fill me in.