Thursday at the Sac’to National Wildlife Preserve

Vacation Day 13. I got up around 7:30 am this morning and headed out to the Sacramento National Wildlife Preserve.  My ankle is better, but I still didn’t think I could do much walking on it, so I went to this preserve to get my nature fix because it has an auto tour route…  The weather was lovely:  sunny, about 75° and windy.

On the drive to the preserve I saw a couple of funny things…  There was a worksite with porta-potties set up around, and each porta-potty was painted with the name of the manufacturer: ARSE.  Hah!  Seemed appropriate.  Then later I saw a guy on the side of the road dressed in a Batman costume and holding up a sign for the Church of Mormon.  Wut tha?!

Because it was so windy at the preserve, not a lot of birds were moving or flying around (unless they got startled), so I got photos of birds hunkered down into tight little balls most of the time.  *Sigh*  The water, too, was real choppy, so the birds bobbed around like… well, “bobbers”.  There were a lot of hawks and falcons around, but all were too distant to get any good shots of them.  I also saw a juvenile Western Grebe foraging all by itself, and what I think was a Golden Eagle (but again it was far away so I couldn’t get a clear shot of it).  It was on a small “island” trying to protect whatever it had killed from a band of ravens.  The best shot of the day was of a Great Egret.  It was snugged up against the tules on the side of the road, and I was able to shoot through the tules to get a close-up of the bird’s head and intense-looking eye.  The rest of the photos of the day were just so-so.

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I hadn’t brought my directions with me, but I knew the Colusa National Wildlife Preserve was around there somewhere, too.  So, when I finished at the Sacramento preserve, I went looking for the Colusa preserve.  The signs along the road lead me to their out-camp site with locked gates, not the preserve itself.  So, grrrrrr on that!  When I got home, I checked the directions to the place, and I’d turned on the road just before the one I was supposed to turn on… even though I was following the signs.  There’s nothing that says “go ahead to O’Hair Road for the preserve” on the signs that direct you through the area.  Pissed me off.  Maybe I’ll try again later.

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Mary K. Hanson is a breast cancer survivor who, at age 61, took coursework to become a Certified California Naturalist. The author of “The Chubby Woman’s Walkabout”™ blog, Ms. Hanson has also written nature-based feature articles published in regional newspapers, authored over ten books, including her "Cool Stuff Along the American" series of guide books, and has had her photographs featured in books, articles, calendars, on the American River Parkway Foundation’s Instagram stream, and even the White House blog. This year Ms. Hanson is helping to launch and teach a new Certified California Naturalist course through Tuleyome, in partnership with the University of California and the Woodland Library, so members of the public can themselves become certified as naturalists in the state. All of the photos seen on her website were taken by Ms. Hanson herself (unless noted otherwise) with moderate- to low-end photographic equipment more easily affordable to the everyday nature enthusiast. She also occasionally leads photo-walks through the American River Bend Park for the public and is sometimes available for public speaking.