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b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s n e w s l e t t e r s “Ken was something of a visionary. I told him I’ve got a plan, and he said that we have the land.” year-round, but during the winter we get Merlins and sometimes even a Prairie falcon. I also lead tours at Skaggs Island, which gets everything in the book. But Lynch is not far off from Skaggs in terms of what’s out there. Between Lynch and Skaggs Island, those are the two hot spots in the North Bay Area. Could you talk about why you wanted to dedicate the season to Ken Poerner? I knew he was ill, but I didn’t know how ill. I saw posts about him leaving property and equipment to the docents and trail stewards. Ken was an inspirational leader. Very charismatic, very hands-on. Whenever I would meet him, he was very cognizant of what birds of prey were passing through and where they could be seen. Ken was something of a visionary. I told him I’ve got a plan and a vision, and he said that we have the land. The season starts late August and runs through March, but the peak is mid-September through February. Scheduled upcoming dates are Nov 28th, December 18th, and January 15th. The hiking fee is $10.00. Registrations can be made at solanolandtrust.org/events/birds-of-prey. Samuel James Adams Larry Broderick Larry Broderick Rough-legged hawk Tom Reynolds Large group at Birds of Prey Walk 3 Where the raptors roam Continued from P1 They held activities at several properties, but Lynch Canyon consistently produced the most numbers and the most species. “We’ve had over one hundred events in fifteen years,” Larry says. “There’s often forty people in a group, but sometimes there are ninety. So since we started it’s possible that we’ve opened the door to four or five thousand people. And lots of them come back.” Larry took some time to talk with us and explain what brings birds and birders back to this singular space. But the best way to see the birds is at Lynch, and the best way to know what you’re seeing is to join one of Larry’s upcoming Birds of Prey hikes! What makes Lynch Canyon a good habitat for raptors? The main thing with Lynch Canyon is it’s a hotbed of prey for predators.There are no pesticides, no real development, no threat of shooting. So all the things that our prey species normally endure in civilized landscapes—cars, poisons, electrocution, etc.—Lynch Canyon is safe from all that.There’s a healthy population of ground squirrels, voles, moles, and all the little furry things that crawl around. You look at the California mammal guide, there’s a lot of them in there. So there’s a healthy, reliable, sustainable prey base in a land that’s kept pristine, so to speak. I imagine Lynch Canyon’s proximity to other open lands play a part… It’s somewhat of a wildlife corridor: Suisun Marsh to the south; American Canyon to the north; Newell to the west. There are lots of greenbelts involved.The riparian corridors are normally managed to keep out the cattle and the overall management helps protect special ecosystems.There are river otters from the Suisun Marsh who come up to Lynch. But the prey that the birds are capitalizing on are pretty much rooted in the Lynch Canyon area. What makes Lynch Canyon a good location for viewing? The sheer fact that there’s hills and updrafts from the Napa River, Skaggs Island, and the whole Highway 37 corridor.When the wind hits Lynch Canyon, the updrafts and thermals provide lift for the birds.There’s also not a lot of danger posed by the humans who use Lynch Canyon. Raptors love open grasslands, and that’s largely what Lynch Canyon is made up of.The grasslands provide endless prey base that the raptors thrive on. What species can people expect to see in the peak season for overwintering hawks? You’ve got your residents. And you’ve got winter migrants. During the summer and spring, we have six to eight species who are constant. One time we had eighteen species in the winter. We had amazing results from the Rough-legged hawk, an overwintering bird from the Arctic, Alaska, and northern Canada. One time we had six at Lynch. We’re lucky if we see one or two across the Bay Area. Ferruginous hawk is another overwintering guest, another Buteo. And then we get Merlins from Alaska and Canada. And if we hit it right, we get the migration of Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks, two accipiters. For falcons, we get American Kestrels and Peregrines Ken Poerner Merlin eating a smaller bird Ken Poerner Anne DeLozier 2 Fall 2021. Vol. 28 #2 Continued on page 2 Land connects us all – protecting it today, saving it for tomorrow Where the raptors roam Larry Broderick dedicates the 2021/2022 Birds of Prey ike se son to Ken Poerner “This whole thing started with Ken Poerner in 2001,” says Larry Broderick, who leads Birds of Prey hikes throughout the North Bay with his organization West County HawkWatch. “Ken’s interpretation of what I wanted to do led us down the path to where we’re at.” 2001 was when Larry met Ken at the San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival and discussed leading birding activities near Travis Air Force Base. Ken mentioned the properties of the Solano Land Trust and introduced Larry to Teri Engbring, a Volunteer Coordinator for the land trust.They worked together and began the program in 2007. Before that there weren’t any raptor-themed birds of prey tours in the North Bay. Rough-legged hawk Tom Muehleisen S a n SF Phil