Final days of the Dubai Star wildlife response

While Friday was the last official day of wildlife response for the Dubai Star oil spill, we are still dealing with remnants of the spill.  Yesterday, a birder in the East Bay reported a possible oiled male Surf Scoter.  The scoter was seen sitting up on the rocks on a small island just off from the San Leandro Marina, south of the Oakland airport.

Today, IBRRC’s Harv Wilson went over to the marina to check and see if the bird was still there – it was.  After talking with Harv and Laird Henkel, the wildlife branch director on this spill from OSPR, we decided that I would drive down from Davis and assist Harv in a possible boat rescue.  We would kayak out to the island with one person coming from behind the bird with a dip net and one person approaching with a boat from the front.

Typically, these are hard capture attempts since the bird has a number of places to escape to, but today all things worked out well.  We spotted the bird hunkered down up on the rocky shoreline, and after I kayaked over to the island I approached the bird from behind and dropped the dip net over it before it could get to the water (where Harv was waiting).   As you can see from the picture, the male Surf Scoter is a beautiful creature.

I drove the scoter up to the Cordelia facility where I looked at it more closely with Jay Halcomb.  While the scoter acted like it was oiled, we failed to find any evidence of oil on it.  The bird is skinny and lethargic so perhaps it is fighting some kind of illness.  It will get rehabilitated and hopefully released before too long.

– Nils

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