04/13/2023 – Best of the Week and Dam Update

The overcast conditions persist, with a few sunny days in between

California Quail

The Sentinel. This time of year male California Quails can be found atop the chaparral vocalizing, displaying, and  keeping an eye out for any threats to the rest of the Covey which are usually in close proximity under the adjacent brush. 

California Gnatcatcher

Another member of the ‘California Collection’, the California Gnatcatchers are also busily claiming their part of the chaparral. 

Mourning Dove

Nest building is in full swing. 

Male Coopers hawk

One of a pair of Cooper’s Hawks are also busy nest building. 

female Coopers Hawk

And the larger female is nearby.

And with Cooper’s Hawks around this House Finch needs to stay vigilant along with the other smaller birds and rodents. 


Common in huge numbers in some parts of the country, the blackbird will move in large flocks until they find a suitable nesting spot, then it’s game on – Bickering, posturing, vocalizing, and doing their best to find a mate. 

An update on the Dam repairs

The State of California amended the mandated maximum water level of Lake Hodges to be 280’ (80’ at the dam) until the new dam is built…. At this level the pump station will be inoperable. During the recent rains the rate of water entering the Lake was higher than the rate it could be removed so the lake level rose to approx. 295’, (95’ at the dam). With the rains finally subsiding the City has been draining the lake using the pump station while it is still possible to do so.  Limited recreation is scheduled to commence in the near future.


How this will affect the Grebes nesting cycle is still unsure? The timeline for completion of the proposed new dam is currently 12 years. In that time frame new vegetation may grow and provide material for nest building, but the areas available for nesting may be too exposed to the wind and predators? Historically Grebes have not nested when the Lake levels have been this low. As a founding board member of the Friends of Lake Hodges, https://friendsoflakehodges.org/ I encourage you to take a look or better yet, get involved.  


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