In November 2018 this column discussed ongoing and planned habitat improvements at the Open Space Park on Cache Creek, along County Road 85 just north of the town of Capay. Now I am happy to report on the success of the project, which has had help from YAS.
The forty-acre park was recently part of a gravel mining operation, so that woody vegetation–for that matter, any vegetation–has been scarce. Led by YAS member Tanya Meyer, staff from the Yolo County Resource Conservation District prepared the ground for planting last winter. The plants, all natives, are now in the ground, including oak, buckeye, redbud and toyon, plus wildflowers and sedges. Interpretive features should be in place by the end of this month.
Noting a lack of nest cavities for birds on the property, YAS proposed to install nest boxes this winter. In February we mounted seven boxes, three new and four refurbished, on metal poles equipped with predator guards. Four more boxes were suspended on garden planter holders hooked over high horizontal branches of some of the taller trees in the park. In other parts of the county, nest boxes have had great success attracting western bluebirds, tree swallows, ash-throated flycatchers, and house wrens.
Recognizing the value of nest boxes, a group of Woodland High School students will assemble and install four more on poles on March 4. The activity is part of the outdoor education element of the Proposition 13 grant that supported the project.
We owe big thanks to Ron Ringer for making the nest boxes, Melanie Truan for advice on their placement, and John Hansen, Joe Zinkl and Sonjia Shelly for installing them. To explore the park’s bird life and see how many birds use the nest boxes, Yolo Audubon has scheduled a field trip on May 26; mark your calendars.
Michael Perrone, YAS Conservation Chair