Around 9:30 I headed out to the Cosumnes River Preserve again to see if I could get to the wetlands trail before their parking lot filled to gunnels again. I got to the preserve around 10 o’clock and was able to find a parking spot right near the entrance to the wetlands walk area. I did the whole loop, coming out on the other side of the street where the boardwalk area is. It was another “Ducks in Scopes” day, so they had spotting scopes set up for people to look through. One was focused on a small group of Sandhill Cranes. As I was looking through it one of the volunteers came up and said that there was a flock of about 50 of them off of Desmond Road this morning — so I decided to go over there once I was done with my walk. On the walk my attention was grabbed by a huge flock of Snow Geese that was flying overhead. They are so pretty — big white “snowflakes” against the blue sky — and are soooo LOUD! Hah! They grabbed everyone’s attention.
On my walk I saw Red-Winged Blackbirds (and got a short video of one singing), Sandhill Cranes, Sparrows, a Scrub Jay, Gadwalls, Northern Shovelers, Coots, Green Winged Teals, Cinnamon Teals, Pintails, Snow Geese, White-Fronted Geese, Canada Geese, hawks, vultures, and Black and White Stilts. I also saw for the first time a female Belted Kingfisher who sat right on the end of a naked branch so I could get some great photos of her, (Sandpiper) Greater Yellow-Legs, a Common Snipe (Wilson’s Snipe), some Golden-Eyes and even some American White Pelicans! I was surprised to see those so far inland. They were so far away it was hard to get any clear shots of them, but I was happy about sighting them anyway. I walked around there for about 2 ½ hours and then headed back home.
On my way back home, I noticed a sign on the side of the freeway marking the Upper Beach Lake Wildlife Project. I’d never heard of that before, so when I got home, I looked it up online. Wow! It’s a wildlife area right down Freeport Blvd, and they have tours throughout the year. Apparently, it’s part of mitigation work done by the Sacramento County Sanitation District, and they apparently have a huge rookery of egrets, herons and cormorants down there. I added some of their tours to my calendar, and will try to get out there at least once this year. Woo-hoo! Another new place to walk!