Cedar Waxwing, Mayberry Park. April 19, 2015.

Spring Wildlife: This Week on the Truckee

In Drought, Spring, Wildlife by KelseyFitzgerald0 Comments

Spring is a great time for wildlife viewing on the Truckee River, so I thought it would be fun to share some of the wildlife sightings people have sent in during the past week. There were many, including several new additions to the Truckee River species list.  Biggest of thanks to all who have participated in this project so far!  It’s incredibly exciting to be building this record of our river with help from all of you.

Last Sunday, Renee from the Basin and Range Project sent in an observation of a Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) and a snake called a Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormonalong the Truckee River between Verdi and Floriston.  Those are two new species for the Truckee River Guide species list — and if you haven’t heard of the Basin and Range Project yet, you should definitely check it out.  Renee and her partner Dan are working to catalog all that is great about the Great Basin: trails, plants, animals, historical sites, geology and more.

On Sunday, I took a walk along the river near Mayberry Park and saw Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum), a Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri), a Western Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma californica), a Rubber Boa (Charina bottae), and a baby Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) in a nest that many people have been watching for some time.

Rubber Boa, Mayberry Park. April 19, 2015.

Rubber Boa (Charina bottae), Mayberry Park. April 19, 2015.

Great Horned Owl and owlet, Mayberry Park. April 19, 2015.

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) and owlet, Mayberry Park. April 19, 2015.

On Tuesday, Jennifer Robinson was out at McCarran Ranch on the Lower Truckee with Sierra Nevada Journeys, a local outdoor education group.  She and a group of students from Lenz Elementary School found a Gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer) and a North American Beaver (Castor canadensis), and the kids learned to identify a variety of macroinvertebrates.  Sierra Nevada Journeys visits McCarran Ranch regularly during the school year, and is sharing their macroinvertebrate observations with Truckee River Guide — check it out here, and stay tuned as we watch how the Truckee River macroinvertebrate community changes throughout the year!

Gopher snake, McCarran Ranch. April 21, 2015. Photo: Jennifer Robinson.

Gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer), McCarran Ranch. April 21, 2015. Photo: Jennifer Robinson.

On Wednesday, Dylan Kuhn from Reno sent in some photos taken along the riverwalk in downtown Reno: An American Robin (Turdus migratorius), a Stellar’s Jay, a Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria) and Western Boxelder Bug (Boisea rubrolineata).  On Thursday, he got a great photo of a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) carrying prey. Thanks Dylan!

American Robin, Riverwalk, Reno. April 22, 2015. Photo: Dylan Kuhn.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius), Riverwalk, Reno. April 22, 2015. Photo: Dylan Kuhn.

Western Boxelder Bug (Boisea rubrolineata), Riverwalk, Reno. April 22, 2015. Photo: Dylan Kuhn.

Western Boxelder Bug (Boisea rubrolineata), Riverwalk, Reno. April 22, 2015. Photo: Dylan Kuhn. 

Red-tailed Hawk, Reno. April 23rd, 2015. Photo: Dylan Kuhn.

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), Reno. April 23rd, 2015. Photo: Dylan Kuhn.

Also notable in Truckee River water news, releases from Boca Reservoir were cut off last Thursday, and the water level in the river dropped significantly. For more info, check out this article from the Reno Gazette Journal.  Due to the extreme drought we’re experiencing, the Truckee River is currently flowing at about a third of its normal rate for this time of year.

As this drought wears on, it is going to be increasingly important to keep an eye on all of the species that depend on the Truckee River’s water. And because you can’t document change if you don’t keep a record, that means it is all the more important to start building the record now. The river is low, but it’s still a fantastically beautiful place to hang out, and there’s lots of great wildlife to see during the spring. Thanks for reading — and if you happen to be out and about near the river this weekend, please take some photos and send them in!

The Truckee River, Mayberry Park. April 19, 2015.

The Truckee River, Mayberry Park. April 19, 2015.

Leave a Comment