California Clapper Rail

 

Almost everyone who flies into San Francisco or San Jose airport has seen it -- a vibrant patchwork quilt of colorful water. There, on the southern edge of the San Francisco Bay, you can see bright pinks, pumpkin oranges, neon greens and deep magentas, contrasted against the dark blues of the natural bay water. The last time KALW listener Donna Staton peered out an airplane window, she saw it, too.

 

Len Blumin

 

The California Clapper Rail is a bird that likes to be heard, but not seen. But today, on this windy morning at Arrowhead Marsh in Oakland, they aren’t too vocal. In order to find them, Vivian Bui scans the air with a big metal antenna, attached to a receiver, while she listens through big headphones.