I got up around 7:00 this morning and headed up north with the dog to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. It was densely foggy between Woodland and Arbuckle and I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to see anything at the refuge, but the fog cleared (although it stayed overcast for most of the day).
I’d left the house without breakfast, so I stopped at Taco Bell to get some coffee and a breakfast burrito. Believe it or not, I’ve never eaten one of those before – and I don’t ever need to eat another one. It was flavorful just… kind of gross to look at. The pale soft tortilla was like “skin” surrounding “entrails” that were yellow, brown, red and green with strings of oozy cheese. Creepy. I only ate half of it. The coffee was surprisingly excellent, though.
At the refuge water levels had risen all over since the last time I was there, and areas that used to be dry were now flooded, so there were lots of birds a lot closer to the road of the driving tour there. I saw a lot of Ring-Necked Pheasants, all males and most of them in pairs. I got a little video of one pair that were eating together; then one tried to challenge the other to a fight, but the second one wasn’t taking the bait… I wanted to see and photograph some of the Ibises that are usually around there, and I saw some in flight… but then they landed too far away from me to get decent photos of them. Grrrr. I also saw grackles, Meadowlarks, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Snow Geese, White-Fronted Geese, Great Egrets, a Snowy Egret… (Several of the egrets, in fact, were posing on logs and branches so they looked very picturesque)… Buffleheads, Northern Shovelers, a cormorant, hawks, Robins, a Peregrine Falcon, Mallards, Gadwalls, Lesser Goldfinches, Jackrabbits, squirrels, and Ring-Necked Ducks (which I’d never seen before)… and then I saw the Bald Eagle.
He was sitting in a tree, but on the side that didn’t face on-coming traffic. I could see his silhouette, but couldn’t get a good shot of him from that angle. The car in front of me on the driving tour path opened up their sunroof, lifted their camera through it, and aimed their camera behind them to get photos of the eagle. My Sebring doesn’t have that, so I was naughty. When I pulled up far enough, I opened the car door and leaned out to get some shots of him. The eagle knew how awesome he looked and just struck a pose for everyone.
After driving the loop of the auto-tour, I left Sergeant Margie out of the car and we walked half of the wetlands paths. Most of that area had been burned to the ground last summer, so the trees are all dead, but the tule and grasses are starting to come back already, and most of the burned area was flooded now, so you couldn’t see the singed earth underneath. By the time we were done walking it was already past 1:00 pm, so we headed back home and made it back to the house right around 3:00 pm. It was a long day, but I got a lot of photos and I felt it was a fun and productive one… and it was nice to have the car back, and running so well again…