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Outdoors report

April 19, 2002

Bees buzzing in the mesquites

By AL KALIN

Staff Columnist

It's that time of year again when the bees start collecting pollen in the flowering mesquite trees.

It's always been a personal sign for me when this yearly occurrence happens. It's the time of year that all types of freshwater fish bite.

It's also the time of year that the colorful yellow and orange Western tanager moves through our Valley. Look up in any tree, particularly one of the old fruiting mulberries or a flowering mesquite, and I'll bet you see one of these beautiful creatures.

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Everywhere you look Mother Nature's plants and animals are reproducing. At the New River wetlands, thousands of yellow-headed blackbirds are building nests while mother coots and moorehens are busy teaching their young to feed.

Check out many of the wheat fields near the Salton Sea and you will see countless pairs of mallards that are starting to nest.

Fishing still remains good at all local lakes, on the Colorado River and in the All-American Canal. On the Salton Sea though, high winds and a humongous hatch of pile worms have shut off the corvina bite, but fishing should continue to improve rapidly as the water warms up and the winds die down.

The Lewis' woodpecker has been spotted again near the agricultural research station south of Brawley. There are also many Gila and ladder-backed woodpeckers working the trees.

At the Brawley wetlands project, just below where the Lewis' woodpecker hangs out, I spotted a dazzling blue grosbeak.

South of Obsidian Butte in the large stagnant pond, large numbers of Wilson's phalaropes are slurping up mosquito larva. Many Bonaparte's gulls also are visible in the same area. These beautiful petite gulls are easily recognizable because of their black heads.

I hope many of you have signed up for the Imperial Bird Festival and Earth Day tours Saturday. I guarantee there will be lots to see this time of year.

If you would like to report your day outdoors, Al Kalin can be reached on the Internet at akalin@quix.net

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