Day 2 of my vacation. I got up around 5:30 this morning so I could head out before 6:00 to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Although the temperatures were great all day (about 56º when I headed out, and about 72º when I headed back home), it was SUPER windy at the refuge. Wind gusts were so hard that at one point, when I got out of the car at a park-and-stretch area, the wind knocked me over into the side of the car. I bet I’ll be black and blue tomorrow! When the wind is fierce, you don’t see many birds because they don’t want to have to expend energy flying against it and they don’t like getting knocked around on the ground… So I wasn’t expecting to get many good photos today. I was happy, then, when I actually got a few.
At one point, I came across a spot where three mule deer were grazing: two very pregnant females – I think it was a mom and her daughter — and a young male in his velvet. To get pictures of them, I had to roll the window up part way and balance the camera on it so the wind wouldn’t blow the camera out of my hand.
…As I was driving along, very slowly, keeping an eye out for Bitterns (which I didn’t see all day), I was surprised to see a raccoon in the tules, keeping its eye on me. I came to a stop and took a few photos and a video snippet of it before it turned away and headed back to the water.
…I came across two crèches of Canada Geese: large groups of goslings being cared for by several adults. One group with about 11 goslings was in the water, but had the babies buoyed up on rafts of aquatic plants to keep them safe against the “waves” kicked up by the wind. They only moved out into the water when they figured I had watched them for too long and wanted to get further away from me. Another group with about 28 goslings was out on a flatland area where the parents didn’t have to worry about the kids getting exhausted in the water and overwhelmed by the wind and waves. Birds are smarter than we think sometimes… I also found a mama duck with her six ducklings and a Killdeer nest with 2 eggs in it. Babies everywhere,
… And I also got to see an Avocet and a Great Egret catch and eat crayfish for lunch. So the photo excursion was better than I thought it would be.