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

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