San Diego Management & Monitoring Program


Light-footed Clapper Rail Management, Study, and Propagation in California, 2007

Type: report

Article abstract: The twenty-ninth annual census of the Light-footed Clapper Rail in California was conducted from 9 March to 5 June 2007. Thirty coastal wetlands were surveyed by assessing call counts from Carpinteria Marsh in Santa Barbara County, south to Tijuana Marsh National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on the Mexican border. A total of 443 pairs of Light-footed Clapper Rails exhibited breeding behavior in 19 marshes in 2007. This is the largest statewide breeding population detected since the counts began in 1980, representing an 8.3% increase over the former high count in 2006 and a 36% increase over the 24-year high reached in 1996. This is the fourth year in succession of recordbreaking high counts. Upper Newport Bay was once again the largest subpopulation in California and was back to its second highest total. Tijuana Marsh NWR was at an all-time high level of 142 pairs, a 39.2% increase over 2006. The Newport subpopulation comprised 37.3% of the state population in 2007 and the subpopulation in the Tijuana Marsh NWR comprised 32.1%, together accounting for nearly 70% of the breeding population of this rail in California. The subpopulation on the San Dieguito River dropped 50% to 15 pairs but remains the largest ever recorded in a freshwater marsh. There were 15 pairs at Point Mugu, its third highest total and the Seal Beach tally was up slightly to 24 pairs. Batiquitos Lagoon held a record high 1 Zembal, R., S. Hoffman, J. Konecny, C. Gailband, L. Conrad and M. Mace. Light-footed clapper rail management study, and propagation in California, 2007. California Department of Fish and Game, Wildlife Branch, Nongame Wildlife Program Report, 2008-02. Sacramento, CA 28 pp. of 22 pairs, as did Los Penasquitos Lagoon and creek with 12 pairs. Three other small subpopulations were at record or recent highs including Buena Vista Lagoon with 8 pairs, San Elijo Lagoon with 12 pairs, and San Diego River with 6 pairs. The San Diego River total included two pairs discovered at Kumeyaay Lake about 8 miles inland of Mission Bay. Additional nesting activity was observed in 9 of 15 breeding territories at Point Mugu. Incubation nests were found in 5 territories, brood nests in 3 territories, chicks were observed in 2 territories, and there was evidence of chick feeding in 9 territories. No egg translocations were accomplished because of the asynchrony in incubation timing between Newport and the target marshes. No eggs were taken from Newport to augment the capti

Number of pages: 34

Authors: Zembal, Richard; Hoffman, Susan; Konecny, John; Gailband, Charles; Conrad, Laurie; Mace, Michael;

Month: January

Year: 2008

Prepared for: U.S. Fish and Widlife Service, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office; California Department of Fish and Game;

Prepared by: Clapper Rail Recovery Fund, Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy;

Keywords: endangered species; light-footed clapper; light-footed clapper rail;

Species: Light-footed Ridgway's rail