Around 8 o’clock, I headed out with Sergeant Margie to the Sacramento National Wildlife Preserve. It’s about a 4-hour round trip, so by the time I got back home, my knees and ankles were tired from the driving, but it was a fun day. I got to see a lot of different birds, including two bald eagles. One flew up into a tree right along the driving-tour road and just sat up there letting everyone take photos of him and ooo and ahhh over how handsome he was. The other one was right near the parking lot, and I walked right under him to get some photos.
Other “new” birds for me were a female Bufflehead Duck (I’d seen males before but not a female), Ring-Necked Ducks, and a Tricolored Blackbird. I’ve seen photos of these, but never came across live ones before, so that was neat. I also saw Northern Shovelers, Mallards, male Buffleheads, Pintails, Egrets, Coots, a Cormorant, hawks, Turkey Vultures, California Gulls, White-Fronted Geese and about a m’jillion Snow Geese. At one point, all m’jillion of them took off at once and circled right over the car. The noise was incredible. I got some still shots and a couple of short videos of them. They were awesome. The tips of their wings are pitch-black and when you see a whole bunch of the geese flying together those black tips kind of flip on-and-off like Morse code at you. It’s very “optical illusion-y”.
Here’s a video of the geese: http://youtu.be/wgoPHcOxXo8
After we did the car tour, Sergeant Marie and I got out of the car shared a sandwich, then took a walk along the shallower wetlands area. So we were there for about 2 ½ hours all together. I was surprised by how many other people stopped there while I was there. I usually don’t see anybody. But today the little parking lot was full, and there was a high-rise open-air tour bus that was shuttling one group around the driving-tour route. The road for the driving tour is gravel and real narrow, so when someone stops in front of you, you’re pretty much stuck unless they pull off into the muck. When we all got to that first Bald Eagle, there was a line of about 4 cars ahead of me, all slowing down to look at him and hang out of their windows to get photos of him… When I got back to the parking lot, where the second eagle was, I pointed him out to some of the tourist there, who all rushed over to see him… thereby clearing a way for me to get out of the parking lot without a lot of pedestrian traffic. Hah!
The drive back home was easy and without incident, so overall it was a real nice day. Sergeant Margie was bushed afterwards, though, and took a 2 hour nap after we got back to the house. Awwww…