Clear Lake ready to host Heron Festival

April 2011 News

Clear Lake was glassy and calm but a battle between a bald eagle and a territorial osprey was taking place overhead, thrilling a group of veteran bird watchers out mapping nesting sites for the upcoming Heron Festival.
Undeterred by the majestic eagle's superior size, the osprey attacked, again and again, until the eagle fled the open water for the refuge of a waterside tree perch.

"Was that a sight to see," said an awed Faith Rigolosi, a seasoned bird watcher and photographer who runs boat tours on the lake. She was among a dozen people, mostly Redbud Audubon Society members, aboard a pontoon scouting Clear Lake last weekend for the best places to observe its many birds.

The maps they created will guide the boat tours offered at Clear Lake State Park during the 17th annual Heron Festival & Wildflower Brunch Saturda and Sunday. To ensure a spot on board, sign up in advance for the tours, officials said.

Spotting another eagle-osprey sky battle is doubtful this weekend, but a narrow slough near the park is certain to reveal dozens of great blue herons nesting at the top of a large tree near the water. Green herons, night herons, pelicans, cormorants, grebes and a host of other wildlife, including western pond turtles, also were spotted during Saturday's scouting trip.

More than 300 types of birds frequent Lake County, according to the Audubon Society. The waterfowl populations wax and wane, depending on the abundance of fish.


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