There's good news about an endangered bird species at Hayward Regional Shoreline, where the California least tern colony is experiencing a population boom.
About 180 least terns are now flying around an island at the park that the staff and volunteers call Tern Town. "Something amazing is happening -- we added 40 new nests in just one week," said Dave Riensche, a park district wildlife biologist.
A record 150 least tern nests and 245 eggs have been counted to date this season. The highest previous season record was 80 nests. Fifty of the nests have produced 75 chicks and about 20 fledglings so far.
The migratory California least terns arrive during May to nest at the shoreline park. Eggs incubate for about 21 days, and the chicks start to fly 19 or 20 days later. They can live up to 22 years.
More than 3,500 people have volunteered more than 15,000 hours to the project over the years, monitoring the population and managing the environment. Today Tern Town is the second-largest least tern colony north of San Luis Obispo.
Hayward Regional Shoreline is located at the end of West Winton Avenue off Interstate 880 in Hayward. The nests are in a protected area, restricted from visitors; a viewpoint with an information panel is located at the south end of Cogswell Marsh.
For information on how you can get involved in the tern project, visit www.ebparks.org, or contact David "Doc Quack"
OHLONE VILLAGE: The Ohlone village at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont will host an open house from 10 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
At the village are reconstructions of an Ohlone-style sunshade, a sweathouse and a partly-below-ground family home. The site was inhabited by Tuibun Ohlone for 2,000 years. Park naturalists will be on hand to demonstrate how the Indians lived and worked.
Coyote Hills is located at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway in Fremont. There's a parking fee of $5 per vehicle; the open house is free.
STARGAZERS: Looking ahead and up, stargazers will soon enjoy any of several Perseid meteor shower viewing programs.
The first is a Tuesday Twilight program from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Aug. 7 at Morgan Territory Regional Preserve east of Mt. Diablo, led by naturalist Cat Taylor.
It's free of charge. Meet at the park entrance on Morgan Territory Road, nine miles south of Marsh Creek Road in Clayton. For information, call 510-544-3242.
Cat has another star gaze scheduled for 7:15 to 10:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 10 at Sunol Regional Wilderness in southern Alameda County.
She'll lead a sometimes-steep three-mile hike to the park's High Valley to watch the stars fall. Bring flashlights, blankets and a hot beverage.
The program is designed for ages seven and older. It's free, but registration is required. For registration and information, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program 29976.
Or you can view the annual Perseid show on a backpack trip from 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11 through 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12, also at Sunol, led by naturalist "Trail Gail" Broesder and the recreation staff.
It's a four-mile hike, for ages 12 and older. Food will be provided. Gail's program has a fee of $70 per person ($74 for nondistrict residents). Reservations are required. Call 888-327-2757 and refer to program 29834.
LAKE TEMESCAL: Naturalist Michael Charnofsky will set up a table and talk about local wildlife from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at Temescal Regional Recreation Area in Oakland. Michael will be at the park's south lawn area, and he'll have a live gopher snake with him for visitors to meet and greet. Lake Temescal is located at the junction of Highways 24 and 13 in Oakland. For more information, call 510-544-3187.
HIKES FOR TYKES: Roberts Regional Recreation Area in the Oakland hills will be the location for a Hikes for Tykes program from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The programs are designed for young children accompanied by a parent. Hikes average about a mile; strollers are not recommended, though. Bring a snack for your child.
The park is located on Skyline Boulevard about a mile up the hill from the intersection with Joaquin Miller Road. Parking costs $5 per vehicle. Meet in the lower parking lot.
STAY HYDRATED: Summer months are often hot in the regional parks, especially those in the interior, away from the cooling influences of the Bay and Delta. So be sure to take plenty of water when you go for a hike. And morning hours are best for hiking, before the heat of the day.
Note that at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch, there are only three sources of drinking water. One is at the park offices just past the entrance kiosk on Somersville Road. Another is at the parking lot at the end of Somersville Road. And the third is in the picnic area at the Somersville town site.
At Round Valley Regional Preserve south of Brentwood, the only local drinking water supply is at the park entrance on Marsh Creek Road. There's no drinking water in Round Valley itself.
Morgan Territory Regional Preserve has a drinking fountain at the trailhead on Morgan Territory Road. There's no potable water elsewhere in the park.
Email Ned MacKay at email@example.com.