Monday, November 7, 2011

Sacramento National Wildlife Reuge

Knowing that Hubby's eye surgery would soon keep us tethered to our home, we took a trip up deep into the rice growing country of the Sacramento Valley.
Before Europeans came to California this was prime habitat for wildlife.  Migrating birds used it as a stopover and other waterfowl found it to be an ideal winter resort.
It is also prime agricultural land and the wildlands eventually became rice fields.  The birds thought the rice was a fine substitute for their natural food, the farmers didn't agree.

In 1937 the US Fish and Wildlife Service began to turn some dry alkaline land into wetlands.  Today there are 35,000 acres of wetlands and uplands and an additional 30,000 acres in conservation easements.The new wetlands help to lure the birds from the rice fields until after harvest.
There is a two mile walking trail and a much longer auto tour.  Except for two spots along the auto tour, visitors are required to stay in their vehicle. I saw Black necked stilts, pied-billed grebes, snow geese, white fronted geese, northern shovelers, American widgeons, cinnamon teals, gadwalls, American white pelicans to name just a few.  I was thrilled to see the heron with snake.
I spotted this creature sneaking across the pond.  I thought it was a beaver but when I downloaded the shot it was obvious that it was a raccoon.

We were pleased with the variety of bird life that we found at the complex headquarters but disappointed that there were no sandhill cranes.
We learned that the cranes could be found at the Llano Seco unit so the next day we went there.  Here the land was being flooded across the road from some rice fields.
See those hazy skies?  One problem for the photographer in the Sacramento Valley is the practice of burning the rice fields after harvest.  Day after day the sky is filled with smoke haze.

There were lots of geese and I could here the cranes but they were far away.  If you enlarge this shot you might be able to pick them out under the trees in the background.
Across the road, in the rice field there were many more but too far for a great shot.
Rice farmers with conservation easements flood their fields after harvest providing additional habitat.
I know that conservatives think government should do less, only spend money on things like war but it is my belief that our nation would be far poorer with a do nothing government.  Yes, we need farms and the food they provide but I don't think I would like to live in a world where the only animals were humans and their factory farmed meat animals.

See more of our amazing world at Our World, Tuesday, hosted for us by 
Arija, Gattina, Lady Fi, Sylvia and Sandy.
See more great birdlife at World Bird Wednesday, hosted by Springman





Now Hubby is spending 10 days in a head down position while his eye heals.  We're hoping that when he sees the doctor on Wednesday he will again be free to roam.

38 comments:

Gaelyn said...

I love what Fish & Wildlife does to re-create habitat and often work with farmers as well. You had a wonderful bird day.

Love the device Hubby has so he can keep on typing. ;) Heal quickly.

Sylvia K said...

Oh, a wonderful bird day indeed! Marvelous captures! I, too, love the device your Hubby has!! Still, I know it will be more fun when he can look up and out instead of just down! Hope he is mending well!

Sylvia

diana said...

Thanks for post about our local refuge! It's high on my list for a visit later in the winter. More wishes for quick healing for hubby.

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

We will be cruising by SWF on our way to our daughter's for Thanksgiving and I hope there will be time to do a loop through there. I know how my wife and I will get "stuck" there for hours photographing birds so that may be the deal breaker if she gives me the OK to turn off or not. Love the heron and snake shot. You don't come across those very often.

Gary said...

Great post. Does it really matter what conservatives and I use the word losely think. They're a minority and we need to get them into their own country. How about Afganistan with those other conservatives, the Taliban. That will keep them both busy. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Gary said...

Great post. Does it really matter what conservatives and I use the word losely think. They're a minority and we need to get them into their own country. How about Afganistan with those other conservatives, the Taliban. That will keep them both busy. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Carver said...

I hope your husband's recovery will be swift and complete. Great shots. I enjoyed them all.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

This was a very interesting and enjoyable post to read. I'm glad this area is being utilized in such a "win-win" fashion. The birds are beautiful! Good luck to your husband -- hope he has a full recovery!

EG Wow said...

Thank goodness the Fish and Wildlife Service created the wildlife area! Your photos are wonderful!

Snap said...

What a wonderful place! Nice to see the farmers and the wildlife get along. I used to visit Bosque Del Apache each year around Thanksgiving ... wonderful place and similar. Hope all is well with your hubby. Have a great week.

Ann said...

Your husband is still busy with the lap top?

Ann said...

That sign should not be pink, it will frighten the birds away.

katney said...

We stopped there on our way through in September. You saw much more wildlife than we did. It is probably a combination of your more observant eye and the season.

Wishing Jules a speedy recovery.

Kay L. Davies said...

What a wonderful spot to visit. I enlarged the first photo and could see the cranes under the trees, but of course would not have been able to identify them if you hadn't pointed them out.
I am having eye trouble again and certainly hope I don't end up in a head-down position like your husband. I can't imagine how he manages to sleep.
Wishing you both all the best.
K

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

First I hope Hubby has a successful recovery.

Second, I'm not a small government fan. I think our country is so complex, and interests so diverse, that we need an activist government taking care of things. Note that I'm a big fan of free enterprise and in the energy business also but you can't let free enterprise run everything.

Now, that I'm past my rant, Great pictures, this looks like a great place to visit.

Barb said...

Poor Jules - hope he gets a reprieve on Wed! In the third group of photos, I just love the reflection in the one on the upper left. You sure captured a variety of birds and also a snake and raccoon!

Linda Reeder said...

What great bird watching!

Lori Allberry said...

Hi Martha - wow, I'm so glad I stopped by your blog to Thank You for the compliments on mine!
I loved reading your most recent post! Beautiful pictures and so informative!

Thank You, again, for your compliments!

Lori Allberry
loriallberryphotgraphy

mick said...

That sounds like an amazing place to visit with so many different birds. I would think it was a "win-win" situation with the farmers growing rice and then flooding their fields.

Red Nomad OZ said...

Oh, I love me a good wetland!! Although often the uninformed call them swamps!!! Luckily, whatever you call them, there's plenty downunder in OZ!

Arija said...

I fully agree with your sentiments Martha. Hope your hubby enjoys full recovery soon.
Wonderful wildlife photos in the wetlands. What on earth was that raccoon up to??
I just adore geese and snow geese I get to see so very seldom. Thank you .

Diane AZ said...

You saw a lot of wildlife there and I sure do enjoy looking at your photos. I hope the doctor has good news for Jules! :)

Jedediah said...

You got a great collection of birds here. Love the raccoon, too.
I wish your husband a speedy recovery!

Andrew said...

It looks like a wonderful place to visit Martha with loads of wildlife to see. I really enjoyed seeing your wonderful collage.
Please pass on my best wishes to your husband I wish him a speedy recovery.

NatureFootstep said...

wow, that´s a lot of birds. :) And a nice place to watch them too.

holdingmoments said...

There's certainly a good variety of birds there.

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heyBJK said...

Beautiful shots of the various waterfowl, Martha! Nice scenery, too!

Springman said...

Wonderful post Martha! It sounds like your describing a success story, if the wonderful water fowl your showing is any indication. Congratulations to all involved. I agree, government as a voice of the people is a force for good. Not that good always comes of it.
Best wishes to hubs on a full and remarkable recovery!

Debbie said...

i just love the geese in flight!!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Great visit and a lovely place and I concur with your sentiments about the world and wildlife; I am glad the F&W have done a good job here of compromising (it seems like to me anyway).

I love your husband still getting in his computer stuff even with his head in position. And wishing him all the best for speedy and complete recovery.


In the past we have taken some wildlife/scenery explory trips while waiting for various medical stuff (for Bill) -- doing that is such a good way to enjoy the time and not stew around getting nervous for what lies ahead.

Barb said...

How fortunate to be close to such an amazing array of birds! Hope your husband's eye heals quickly.

Larry said...

Awesome post Martha! Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex is my most favorite place to bird! The five wildlife refuges and three wildlife management areas are all incredible places along the Pacific flyway to see hundreds of species of birds! You got some great photos from your trip! I will be leading an outing there next Saturday, the 19th, for our local Audubon chapter. I can't wait!

I hope hubby does well post surgery!

By the way, one of the best places to see Sandhill Cranes is Cosumnes River Preserve which is just south of Sacramento!

bailey-road.com said...

A delightful selection of birds and other critters! Well wishes for your husband!

Pat Ulrich said...

So many great birds! I had always wanted to do some photography at the refuge, but never made it there.

Jean said...

A very interesting post. I hope your husband has a quick recovery.

Tracey N. said...

Looks like a bird lovers paradise! Youu really captured some great specimens. Good luck to your hubby.

Joan said...

Many drives up to Chico State where our daughter was. Always a lovely drive and scenery.
Hope the recovery for your husband is going well.