Sunday, November 18, 2018

Immerse Yourself in Waterfowl (Plan Your Visit)

This late fall and through the winter is a great time to immerse yourself into the great waterfowl migration of California's Central Valley. Waterfowl and shorebirds of all types are drawn down from the Arctic, Alaska and Canada to feed and winter in the valley. One of the best places to do this is at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is the winter home to 600,000 to well over one million ducks and geese. The refuge is open seven days a week from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. There is a visitor center with small exhibits and a bookstore with hours from 9am to 4pm seven days a week November through February. The visitor center also has binoculars and field guides that can be checked out for a closer look at the birds. Starting at the visitor center there is also a 2 mile long wetland trail for car tired kids and adults to explore. The highlight of any trip to the refuge has to be the auto tour. The tour starts at the visitor center and it takes a circular six mile one way trip through the refuge with grasslands and ponds on both sides of the roadway along the way. Typical sights to see are large flocks of flying, resting and feeding waterfowl. You also have the chance to see many raptors, Redtail Hawks, Peregrine Falcons and Marsh Harriers. It is not uncommon to see shorebirds,Great Blue Herons, Egrets and Snowy Egrets. River Otter, beaver and Blacktail deer have been observed as well. You must remain in your car, but three stop and stretch spots are available for you to get out of your car; this includes one observation deck to get a grand view of the refuge. The best times to visit are early in the morning or late evening. The main refuge is located seventy miles north of Sacramento just off of I-5 between Maxwell and Willows. From either the north or the south take the Road 68 exit. Go north on HWY 99W (frontage road) for 1.7 miles, and turn right into the refuge. The day use fee is six dollars, or be in possession of a a current federal duck stamp. Federal duck stamps can be purchased beforehand at any United States Post Office, and they help support waterfowl all over the United States. So plan a trip to the refuge and immerse yourself in the migration. God's blessings upon your journeys, chris All images were created with either a Canon EOS 7D MkII camera or a Canon EOS T1i camera with a Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens. #TeamCanon, #WithMyTamron

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