Drought-time fall preparations for the California Gulls

With the 2022 California Gull nesting season safely behind us, and the deployment of the gull protection fence on the horizon for spring 2023, Robbie, Ryan, and I took advantage of a windless morning to get out to the emerging landbridge near Negit Island to wrap up one season and prepare for the next.

We had three main goals for the day: collect the network of wildlife cameras that monitored coyote activity along the landbridge shoreline adjacent to Negit Island, ground-check the mapped fence route to prepare for rapid deployment in the spring, and check Twain Islet on the regrowth of invasive Bassia hyssopifolia three nesting seasons after the weed-control prescribed burn in 2020 to protect nesting habitat.

It was a spectacular day of doing what we can to help protect California Gulls in the face of a severely low lake in this time of drought.

Robbie and Ryan ready for the early-morning launch.
Landing on an emerging landbridge is a shallow-water boat maneuver.
A three hundred and sixty degree view of the receding shoreline.
Pulling wildlife camera stakes for the season. Note the tracks in the foreground.
Coyote tracks crisscross the mudflats.
The hike across the open expanse back to the boat after fence route mapping and camera removal.
This area on Twain Islet was part of the prescribed burn in February 2020 and is showing very positive results—there’s very little re-growth of invasive Bassia two and a half years later.
Ryan removes a lingering clump of Bassia.
Please note that all travel to the islands is closed from April 1-August 1 every year to protect the nesting California Gull colony.

Photos by Bartshe Miller, Robbie Di Paolo, and Ryan Garrett.