My plans to paddle Lake Sonoma today were foiled by the fact that the road to the boat launch at Yorty Creek was closed. I decided to paddle on the much smaller Spring Lake instead. Fellow blogger and birder Loren Webster visits Spring Lake when he is in the area and has taken many great photos there.
Spring Lake is a Sonoma County Water Agency flood control reservoir built in 1964 to help Santa Rosa avoid floods downtown in heavy rains. In 1986 and 2014 it fulfilled its intended purpose and saved Santa Rosa from significant flooding.
The Sonoma County Regional Parks Department manages recreational uses of the lake. It’s a very popular walking, jogging, dog walking and picnicking park.
The water agency produced a series of seldom-seen short videos about Spring Lake. I’m not exactly sure what audience the producers had in mind, perhaps people walking around the lake and watching YouTube videos about the lake as they go from sign to sign. Their videos won’t win any awards, but they might be worth a look if you’re really interested in this sort of thing. Here’s one of them:
I launched my kayak and immediately encountered a Black-crowned Night Heron.
All around the lake I saw a variety of birds, none of them too shy. Green Herons on the Russian River are much more skittish than the one here along the northeast shore of the lake.
These are secretive birds, so I was happy to get some good photos of this fellow.
Nearby a Mute Swan was taking a midday snooze. It did crack it’s eye open from time to time to keep tabs on me.
I saw only one Pied-billed Grebe. It surfaced very near my kayak and dove back underwater soon after the shutter closed.
Double-crested Cormorants were everywhere on the lake.
Common Mergansers usually hang out in small groups or mating pairs. This female, though, was all by herself on Spring Lake today.
Canada Geese are talkative birds. The only species at the lake that come close in noisiness are the humans.
As I unloaded my kayak, a Mute Swan came over to see if I might have a treat to offer for a snack.
Spring Lake might not be the most adventurous venue for kayaking, but as Loren’s blog has taught me, it is a good place to go bird watching.