Notice: The future of Cesar Chavez Park according to the Berkeley Marina Area Specific Plan (BMASP) will be a topic at tonight’s meeting of the Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront Commission. As a person concerned with the park you may want to take advantage of the public input portion to make a statement of one minute or less. The meeting starts at 7 pm today Wednesday May 11. The Zoom link is https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85923823196 The Public Comment portion is No. 5 on the agenda, following roll call and minutes. The Commission will discuss the BMASP proposals as No. 11 on the agenda. You can view the agenda at this link. I wrote an op-ed about the BMASP proposals, available at this link. Thank you for your concern. — End Notice.
The Gadwall is another one of those birds that are supposedly super common but I’ve never seen here. This one was paddling by its lonely off the north side of the park, and at a distance I thought it was probably a female Mallard, but I wasn’t sure so I put the long lens on it. Definitely not a Mallard but a Gadwall. This one is a female. It has intriguing patterns on its flank and breast, a white speculum, and some complicated dark streaking on its rump. This duck may be late returning to its probable breeding grounds in the Prairie Pothole region, or possibly it’s settled in locally. But there was no sign of a mate, and supposedly this species likes to pair up early, months before breeding starts. That would be about now. So probably not local. They’re monogamous until chicks hatch, when males take off. They’re dabblers, not divers, and primarily vegetarian, except that females during the breeding period take marine protein where available. At the time I watched it this bird simply paddled and did not forage. Similar to wigeons, they like to steal marine vegetation from diving birds such as the American Coot. Despite losses to hunting (about 1.7 million Gadwalls a year) the species is increasing in numbers and extending its breeding range.