Saturday, December 27, 2008

Rainbow Lodge for snow and lunch

Today we headed up Interstate 80 for some fun in the snow and what turned out to be lunch at the Rainbow Lodge.

The nice thing about Sacramento, for those of you back east, is we can drive to the snow and then leave when we grow tired of it. It's still cold here in the valley, but we don't have to deal with the snow. We headed up toward Reno with no destination in particular. There are several snow parks on the way, and they were all full! There were even people parking on the side of the freeway and sledding right there. The gas station at Nyack was so crowded, there was a line to get off the freeway. At Blue Canyon, people were parked on the off/on ramps to the freeway. We got off at Rainbow Rd. and drove down to the lodge.

Today was only the third time the kid's have been in snow. I grew up with it, so I don't feel the need to go to it that often. I don't ski or snowboard and the kid's aren't big enough to do either on their own yet.

As per my own personal rule of only wearing pants when it snows, I wore pants today. Any one who knows me, knows I always wear shorts. These pictures are for you Ty.

After some snowtime, we went into the lodge and had one of the best cheeseburgers I have had the pleasure of eating. We all had cheeseburgers and fries and it was unanimous, that was "the best damn sandwich".

Well, this is probably my last post for 2008. I hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year!!

The Vintage Husband

Friday, December 26, 2008

Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

Many of you who read my blog may be aware of my love of birding. This started some time ago thanks to my children. Always the outdoors person, and an avid fisherman, I am always looking forward to being outside. When my son Jake, joined the the Cub Scouts, I was looking through the Scout Handbook and found bird watching among the activities he would need to do. Sounding like fun for both of us, I soon was planning a trip for us to do some bird watching.

Living in Sacramento there are so may places to go bird watching or "birding" as it is now referred to. After a little searching on the Internet, I found out that Sacramento is in the middle of the Pacific Flyway and plays a vital role in the migration of hundreds of species of birds each year, many of which winter here in our very own backyard.

Among our favorites places are the American River Parkway, Cosumnes River Preserve, and the Yolo Bypass.

Christmas Day, Jake, Abbey and I tried to do a little striper fishing down at the Port of Sacramento. It turned out to be a little to windy and cold down by the water, so we jumped back in the truck for an impromptu trip out to the Yolo Bypass. I didn't have the camera or any binoculars, but we made the trip out any way. The birds are just starting to show up and we saw several that we recognized. Not having my camera, I missed several great photo ops. A red tail hawk was sitting on the road as we drove up. It would have made a great picture.

Today I headed back out to the Yolo Bypass by myself and I made sure to take my camera. It was a great day. A little crisp but clear with not a cloud in the sky. I spent a couple hours out there. Got some nice pictures and just enjoyed being alone with nature. There were several other people out there, but the place is so big, no one is the least bit crowded. If you live in Sacramento and have never made the trip (other than passing by on the way to San Francisco) you really need to go and check it out. Use this link for directions Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area.

You don't even have to get out of the car. There is an auto tour road that winds through several acres of the wetland area. You don't need a truck, you can take your car (I drove the BMW today) with no worries. Be sure to turn the car off at some point and get out. Just standing there in the middle of all those birds is an awesome experience. All the different calls that they make is just amazing.

Here is what I saw out there today:

Western Meadowlark
Savannah Sparrow
Red Winged Black Bird
Brewer's Black Bird
Great Egret
Great Blue Heron
Black Crowned Night Heron
Black Necked Stilt
Long Billed Curlew
Greater Yellow Legs
Norther Shoveler Duck
Cinnamon Teal Duck
Northern Harrier
White Tailed Kite
Turkey Vulture
California Gull
Pied Billed Grebe

I thought I saw some Sand hill Cranes fly over.

Here are some of the better photos

Great Egret

Black Crowned Night Heron

Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier in flight

Another Harrier flying by

Northern Harrier looking a little disheveled

Northern Shoveler Duck

Long Billed Curlew in flight

Long Billed Curlew

Black Necked Stilt

Cinnamon Teal Ducks - male and female

Savannah Sparrow

Looks like we may be heading up to the snow tomorrow. That's one thing I love about Sacramento you can be at the ocean 2 hrs one way and the snow 2 hours in the opposite direction. Having lived the first half of my life in the snow, I can tell you it's always fun to visit and even more fun to leave behind! :D

Hope everybody got what they wanted for Christmas. And if I don't post any snow pictures tomorrow, have a Happy New Year!!

The Vintage Husband