Friday, January 8, 2016

A visit to Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

At the end of November Marlene and I drove from San Marcos up to Redding, California, a distance of about 650 miles. This was the half-way point for meeting up with Marlene's sister from Randle, Washington, and transferring Jean, their mother, who had been visiting us for 6 weeks.

On the return journey the next two days we took a couple of detours. One was to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge near Willows, California, about 85 miles north of the city of Sacramento and right on Interstate 5.

Sacramento NWR

We first stopped at the visitor center and hiked a short bit of trails. Then we drove the 6 mile long auto tour route. You are not allowed outside of your vehicle on the auto tour. Birds are not afraid of people driving in vehicles. Thus, we spent over 2 hours driving slowly and parking to photograph waterfowl in astounding numbers at close range.

Sacramento NWR visitor center
Sacramento NWR visitor center

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture

American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

Merlin
Merlin

American Pipit
American Pipit

Greater White-fronted Goose
Greater White-fronted Goose

Northern Shoveler
Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler
Bottoms up! Northern Shoveler

Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark

Mallard
Mallard

Flock of Snow Geese
Flock of Snow Geese

Flock of Snow Geese
Flock of Snow Geese

Snow Goose
Snow Goose

Snow Goose
Snow Goose

Greater White-fronted Goose
Greater White-fronted Goose

Snow Goose
Snow Goose

Greater White-fronted Goose
Greater White-fronted Goose

Blue Goose
"Blue Goose," a color variant of Snow Goose.

Blue Goose
"Blue Goose," a color variant of Snow Goose.

Northern Shoveler
Northern Shoveler

Eared Grebe
Eared Grebe

Ross's Goose
Ross's Geese are like miniature Snow Geese with stubby little bills.

Ross's Goose
Tiny Ross's Goose with Northern Pintail.