Day 11 of Dubai Star Oil Spill – Report from the field

They are lurking in the bushes, slinking through the rip rap, and a problem for oiled birds.  Cats, both feral and house cats, seem to be extremely abundant around the shoreline of Alameda.  This morning at Crab Cove I spotted the cat pictured below searching through the rocks around where coots, Mallards, shorebirds,  and widgeon were feeding nearby.  The cat was well fed, not shy, and obviously someone’s pet but it was clearly hunting.  This is a real problem for the oiled birds that come ashore and also for the cat if it is eating birds with oil on them.  Over by the Elsie Roemer Marsh where the endangered Clapper Rail hangs on in small numbers, we have seen two to four cats hunting around the marsh edge.  With this kind of predator pressure from cats plus other predators like raccoons and corvids, distressed birds do not have much of a chance.

cat with birds

We spent the day looking for oiled birds to catch around Crown Beach and Bay Farm Island and despite our best efforts, the only birds that came in today were two dead birds – a freshly dead American Coot with no obvious oil on it and a desiccated Double Crested Cormorant .  Yvette and I packed up the Rat Rig and tomorrow Don will come and haul it back to Davis.  Duane headed home today after a long, productive stint helping catch birds while Phil and Harv will remain as the wandering R&T crew for at least the next couple of days.  Tomorrow I will head back to Davis; will be good to see my own bed and my family.

– Nils

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