I got up around 5:30 this morning and was out the door before 6:00 with the dog to head over to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. It was 34° and slightly overcast when I left the house. It only got up to a high of 61° by the late afternoon.
On the way to the refuge I counted 21 hawks along the highway, all Red-Tails as far as I could tell. I also saw a huge flock of crows and a Raven.
When I got to the refuge, I wasn’t really surprised to see frost on the ground near the restroom facility. The big Red-Shouldered Hawk in a nearby tree was a nice treat, though. I saw quite a few hawks along the auto-tour route today. The first thing I saw, though, was a White-Tailed Kite. It seems to have taken up residence there.
There were a lot of sparrows all along the route, mostly Savannahs, as well as the usual ducks and geese.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
Something was really riling up the Snow Geese; they took off en masse several times while I was there. One gentleman said he’d seen an eagle, but I didn’t see any.
I did watch a Peregrine Falcon trying to eat his breakfast on one of the little islands. It was being accosted by a small flock of Turkey Vultures, including a dark-headed juvenile who was a bit more assertive than the adults.
In one section, there was a flock of Lesser Goldfinches eating the dried blossoms and seeds of the teasel and Starthistle around the tules.
And in the slough by the extension loop gate, there were a couple of young Pied-Billed Grebes and a fussy little Sora.
I actually drove the route TWICE and was still out of there before noon. There were too many cars on the auto-tour route today, which causes the wildlife to move further away and hide, but I still got to see quite a lot… even though it was much of the same. Looking forward to better, more varied fare as the season moves forward.
- American Coot, Fulica americana
- American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
- American Pipit, Anthus rubescens
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
- Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum
- Bristly Oxtongue, Helminthotheca echioides
- California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
- Common Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Common Raven, Corvus corax
- Common Teasel, Dipsacus fullonum
- Eared Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis
- Floating Water Primrose, Ludwigia peploides ssp. Peploides
- Gadwall duck, Mareca Strepera
- Goodding’s Black Willow, Salix gooddingii
- Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
- Great Egret, Ardea alba
- Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
- Interior Sandbar Willow, Salix interior
- Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
- Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
- Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris [heard]
- Narrowleaf Willow, Salix exigua
- Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
- Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
- Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus
- Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
- Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
- Red Gum Eucalyptus, River Redgum, Eucalyptus camaldulensis
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
- Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
- Ring-Necked Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus
- Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
- Ross’s Goose, Chen rossii
- Ruddy Duck, Oxyura jamaicensis
- Salt Grass, Distichlis spicata
- Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
- Snow Goose, Chen caerulescens
- Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
- Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
- Sora, Porzana carolina
- Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
- Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
- White Tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
- White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
- Yellow Starthistle, Centaurea solstitialis