A Disappointing Day at the SNWR, 02-24-22

I got up around 7:00 this morning to VERY cold temperatures, 28ºF. I wanted to go to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, but I wanted to wait until it warmed up a little bit outside, so I didn’t leave the house until about 8:30 AM. That’s “late” for me, especially when going such a long distance to a venue — (It takes about 2 hours to get to the refuge from the house.) — so I wasn’t sure what the visit would be like. I was worried, too, about it being windy there, so I made a back-up plan to go into the hills down Highways 20 and 16 if the wildlife refuge was a no-go.  I took my dog Esteban with me.

I got to the refuge around 10:30 AM and there wasn’t a wisp of wind… but there weren’t a lot of interesting sightings along the auto tour route. That time of day, too, there were a lot of cars on the road, which is always kind of annoying.

Although I was hoping for some eagles and some bitterns, I only saw Bald Eagles in flight and at a distance, saw one juvenile eagle of which I only got one useable shot, and I saw zero bitterns. Disappointing.

I did see a few birds; mostly the usual suspects. CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

The best sighting of the day was of a mama Columbian Black-Tailed Deer and her two fuzzy-bodied fawns. They were a surprise and so cute.

Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus, doe and twin fawns

The air was filled with the chattering of male Marsh Wrens singing to establish their territories. I didn’t see any nest-building yet.

There were also Red-Winged Blackbirds singing from the tules.

Because there wasn’t much to see, I did the entire route relatively quickly and headed back home. On the way home, I stopped at Taco Bell and got myself some tacos. Then we went to the rest stop at Dunsmuir and had our lunch.  I got home around 3:00 PM.

Species List:

  1. American Coot, Fulica americana
  2. American Wigeon, Anas americana
  3. Ash, Velvet Ash, Fraxinus velutina
  4. Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  5. Black Mustard, Brassica nigra
  6. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  7. Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
  8. Brass Buttons, Cotula coronopifolia
  9. Bufflehead Duck, Bucephala albeola
  10. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  11. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  12. Common Gallinule, Gallinula galeata
  13. Common Goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
  14. Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  15. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  16. Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
  17. Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
  18. Green-Winged Teal, Anas carolinensis
  19. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  20. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  21. Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris
  22. Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
  23. Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
  24. Pacific Pond Turtle, Western Pond Turtle, Actinemys marorata
  25. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  26. Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis calurus
  27. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  28. Ring-Necked Duck, Aythya collaris
  29. Ruddy Duck, Oxyura jamaicensis
  30. Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
  31. Snow Goose, Chen caerulescens
  32. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  33. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  34. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  35. White-Faced Ibis, Plegadis chihi
  36. Wild Teasel, Dipsacus fullonum
  37. Willow, Salix sp.
  38. Wilson’s Snipe, Gallinago delicata

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