Lake County
University of California
Lake County

Field Notes

A chronology of personal notes from Clear Lake area…..

Traditionally, ecologists have always been taught to maintain “Field Notes” as a means of cataloging anecdotal observations that can be used to identify potential trends, changes in the environment or simply record the changes of the seasons.

Clear Lake is a dynamic, evolving natural system. Field observations can sometimes assist modern scientific investigations by providing insights that might otherwise go unnoticed.

  • Date: March 23, 2013; Time: 11:30 a.m.; Location: “tule island” off the mouth of Rodman Slough, Clear lake; Observation: First Yellow-headed blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) of the season observed, 1 male.

  • Date: March 27, 2013; Time: 12:30 p.m.; Location: SodaBay, Clear lake; Observation: Several (25?) Bonaparte’s Gulls (Larus philadelphia) “picking” foraging while in flight. Most likely feeding on emerging chironomid adults.
  • Date: April 22, 2013; Time: 5:30 p.m.; Location: Land's End, Clear lake; Observation: Observed an adult bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) near Land's End.
  • Date: April 22, 2013; Time: 7:00-8:30 p.m.; Location: Konocti Vista Casino Marina, Clear lake; Observation: Observed several hundred year 1+ largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) feeding on emerging chironomids.
  • Date: May 19, 2013; Time: 8:30 a.m.; Location: Indian Valley Reservoir, North portion of the Lake; Observation: Male and Female Purple Martin (Progne subis) utilizing dead snags on the reservoir for nesting habitat. Male was observed carrying food back to the cavity.
  • Date: June 8, 2013; Time: 8:00 a.m.; Location: Konocti Vista to Quercus Point, Clear lake; Observation: First scum forming algae of the summer season observed.
  • Date: February 25, 2015; Time: 8:00 a.m.; Location: Clear lake, area wide; Observation: The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) electro-fished Clear Lake today as part of their ongoing investigation assessing predation impacts on Clear Lake hitch. Over the course of the day several (100+) largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) (LMB) were collected (weighed, measured) and released back into the lake at the point of capture. The bass weighed between a few ounces to over 10 pounds. In addition to LMB several young of the year (2014 age class) bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) and black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus) were collected, and released. Several (approx. 20) tule perch (Hysterocarpus traskii lagunae) were also collected. Tule perch are an endemic species in Clear Lake. Other endemics captured on this day included one (1) Clear Lake hitch (Lavinia exilicauda chi), and one (1) Sacramento blackfish (Orthodon microlepidotus). They were collected and released, as were five (5) Sacramento suckers (Catostomus occidentalis occidentalis). The electro-fishing is part of the CDFW monthly sampling program.
  • Date: March 26, 2015; Time: 8:00 a.m.; Location: Corinthian Bay, Clear lake; Observation: The first Yellow-headed blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) of the 2015 season was observed displaying and calling from a pier in Corinthian Bay. The lone male was very vocal...and apparently lonely.
  • Date:April 10, 2015; Time: 8:00 a.m.; Location: Clear lake wide, Clear lake; Observation: All of the Eared grebes (Podiceps nigricollis) on Clear lake are now in breeding plumage, complete with golden ear tufts and bright red eyes.
  • Date:April 30, 2015; Time: 8:00 a.m.; Location: Ferndale Resort, Dorn Bay, Clear lake; Observation: Stopped at Ferndale Resort this morning to investigate small minnow (cyprinid) observations. The fish were very obvious and tended to be small (4-6 inches). They were mostly Sacramento blackfish (Orthodon microlepidotus) with some Clear Lake hitch (Lavinia exilicauda chi) mixed in. The hitch appeared much brighter in color. Observing with Terry Knight, we saw 2 obvious schools of threadfin shad (Dorosoma petenense), 500 in each school. The fish were about 2 inches in length and foraging actively.
  • Date:April 30, 2015; Time: 5:00 p.m.; Location: Westside County Park, Clear lake; Observation: Checked out population of Sacramento blackfish (Orthodon microlepidotus) and Clear Lake hitch (Lavinia exilicauda chi) very close to the docks. The fish here were much more clearly defined as the sun was at a better angle to conduct an ocular count on the fish. This yielded a ratio at about 2:1 blackfish to hitch. The fish in these schools numbered in the hundreds and were both suspending & foraging in the water column.
 
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