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.
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.
- American Coot, Fulica americana
- American Wigeon, Anas americana
- Ash, Velvet Ash, Fraxinus velutina
- Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus
- Black Mustard, Brassica nigra
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
- Brass Buttons, Cotula coronopifolia
- Bufflehead Duck, Bucephala albeola
- California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
- Common Gallinule, Gallinula galeata
- Common Goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
- Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
- Great Egret, Ardea alba
- Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
- Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
- Green-Winged Teal, Anas carolinensis
- Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
- Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris
- Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
- Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
- Pacific Pond Turtle, Western Pond Turtle, Actinemys marorata
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis calurus
- Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
- Ring-Necked Duck, Aythya collaris
- Ruddy Duck, Oxyura jamaicensis
- Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
- Snow Goose, Chen caerulescens
- Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
- Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
- Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
- White-Faced Ibis, Plegadis chihi
- Wild Teasel, Dipsacus fullonum
- Willow, Salix sp.
- Wilson’s Snipe, Gallinago delicata
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