Tag Archives: fun stuff to do in Glenn County

Lots of Critter Encounters

I got up about 6:00 am and immediately headed out to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge.  After its tune-up and flush yesterday the car was running great.

At the preserve, I noticed they’d just started to flood up some of the seasonal wetland ponds.  It’ll take a month before there’s enough water to satisfy large flocks, but I did see more ducks today than I did the last time I was up there.  Besides those, there were a lot of the usual suspects at the preserve: jackrabbits, cormorants, egrets, herons, dragonflies, pelicans…  But I also saw quite a few ibis today (although I couldn’t get any photos of them because they’d come out of nowhere and then disappear again), and two small flocks of American Avocets (which I also couldn’t get any clear shots of)… those are for next time I guess.

I came across a pair of Green Darner dragonflies in the water.  They were perched on a stick.  The male still had hold of the female, and the female was laying her eggs in the water along the sides of the stick.  Very kewl to watch. According to my research, large female dragonflies like these can lay huge clutches of eggs, and hypoxia triggers the eggs to hatch.  A lot of these Darners are residents (although there are also migratory populations) and it takes about a year for them to become sexually mature.  As this female was laying her eggs, she and her mate kept getting annoyed by Blue-Eyed Darners that wanted in on the action with the female.  They’d buzz in low over the pair and the male Green Darner would shoo them off by flapping his wings and jumping up a fraction off the stick.  He didn’t let go of his female, though, so the Blue-Eyes ones got tired of trying and eventually left the pair alone.  I wanted to get out of the car to see how many eggs the female was laying, but you can’t leave your vehicle on the auto-tour, so… waah.

I also got to see some of the raccoons again, and came across a small family of river otters swimming and rolling around in the water.  Not too many clear shots of them, but I did get some video of the otters (from a distance).  As soon as the otters showed up in the water, the ducks went scrambling in every direction.  And I saw some baby Western Grebes.  One was floating like a bobber in the water between its parents, and another one was pretty well hidden on its mother’s back (but I got some distant video of the papa feeding the chick.  So cute.)  It’s times like this when I bemoan my low-tech camera equipment. Oh, and I also watched two Common Terns harassing a young Great Blue Heron.  I don’t know why, but they kept buzz-bombing him.  Then they’d fly off for a while and then they’d come back to harass him.  I got the distinct impression that they were just jerks.  The heron wasn’t doing anything…

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I stayed in the refuge for about 5 hours before heading back to Sacramento.

None of these videos are very detailed (because the subjects were so far away) but you’ll get the gist of them.

Video of the heron getting harassed: http://youtu.be/tNKtHKXz-Os

Video of the Grebes and their babyhttps://youtu.be/LFbJYdDKZQ4

Video of the otters: http://youtu.be/knWhMJsNsKo

 

 

Jackrabbit City!

Today is in between two rain storms, so I thought I’d take a run out to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge in Glenn County to do a little bird-watching with the dog.  The trip makes for a long day: it’s 2 hours in and 2 hours back, and then whatever time I use for walking or diving around the preserve but I like it out there.  There are usually very few people, and I like hearing all the bird noise.  The drive in included miles and miles of dense fog, and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to see anything at the refuge if the fog persisted.  Luckily, it wasn’t hanging over Glenn County, so it wasn’t an issue.  The day was cool and crisp (around 50° all the while I was there), with intermittent sun and overcast.   It was also very breezy.

Rather than seeing a lot of cool birds around today, it seemed like there were jack rabbits everywhere.  Every time we turned around, there were one or two within eye shot.  Some even (albeit unwittingly) followed us up the trails.  Sergeant Margie was a very good boy, and didn’t try to chase any of them, but he did bark at a few.  Most of the birds we saw were the usual suspects: ducks, geese, Grackles, Sparrows, shorebirds…  All the while we were out walking around, I could hear the loud “angry” calls of ring-necked pheasants, but they were always out of sight or covered by vegetation so I couldn’t get any clear photos of them.  Two kewl sightings were: a flock of American White Pelicans (which I saw at a distance.  At first, I wasn’t sure what I was looking at, they were so far away, but then I saw the big yellow beaks.), and some Black Ibises.  I had been hoping to see an Ibis all day, and just as I started heading around the bend in the trail back to the car, a group of them landed in a shallow puddle near me, so I got some photos of them.  Yay!

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On the way home, I could a huge rain cloud hunkered down over the highway, and just knew I was going to have to drive through that ting to get home.  And sure enough, I did.  It poured so hard for a few minutes that I could hardly see the road.  Yikes!  But once I got through it, it was sun-shiny the rest of the way home.  I got to the house about 3:00 pm, so it was a long day, but I enjoyed myself.  The dog went right to his water dish, drank a lot, and then went to bed.  Hah!