Four tour groups, each containing about 16 people, motored across Pardee and Camanche reservoirs last weekend to observe eagles, hawks and other wildlife.
The East Bay Municipal Utility District offers free tours to the public each year. A ranger pilots a large patio boat around most of the lake, giving passengers a chance to see miles of shoreline teeming with birds and other animals.
“The reason we do it is we want to show our appreciation for the communities in which we live and work,” said Steve Diers, ranger naturalist for EBMUD. “We want to show that EBMUD is a good steward of the resources with which it’s been entrusted.”
Diers also recruited volunteers for the Mokelumne Trailbuster volunteer program, which is managed by EBMUD.
“The program has a primary focus on construction and maintenance of the Mokelumne Coast to Crest Trail, which is a 300-mile trail that goes from Martinez shoreline in the Bay Area up to Ebbetts Pass and is currently 30 percent completed,” Diers continued.
Three eagles were spotted on the morning tour on Pardee Reservoir and one sub-adult bald eagle was spotted on the afternoon tour.
“I loved seeing birds we don’t normally see,” said Karen Ramsey of Valley Springs.
“I’ve always wanted to go up the Mokelumne River Canyon,” Ramsey’s husband Carl said, adding he wasn’t really disappointed there weren’t many eagles spotted because the scenery was so beautiful.
They both said it was extremely cold on the tour, and it was important to “dress for it.”
“It was like being up in the snow, only with no snow,’ Karen said. “ It was like being in a freezer.”