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.