Sacramento NWR, Colusa NWR, Gray Lodge Wildlife Area
The Sacramento NWR mostly had puddle ducks, with a few Raptors and herons. They have not flooded the fields, yet it looks like the preparations (grading and the weeding) have been done.
Birds seen there were Great Blue Heron, Common Yellowthroat, Western Meadowlark, Northern Pintail, Cinnamon Teal, Mallard, Turkey Vulture, Great Egret, Red-Tailed Hawk, Common Pheasant, Black Phoebe, Black-Necked Stilt, Bewick’s Wren, Killdeer, Greater White-Fronted Geese, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, White-Faced Ibis.
Colusa National Wildlife Refuge has very little standing water and very few birds, though at the entrance there appears to be some large fields of corn waiting to be bumped for the geese and cranes.
At Gray Lodge Wildlife Area on the other hand, a state run facility, there were thousands of ducks (predominantly Northern Pintails).
Birds seen here were Mallard, European Starlings, American Coot, Gadwall, White-Faced Ibis, Black-Necked Stilt, Greater Yellowlegs, Double-Crested Cormorant, Black Phoebe, Gadwall, House Wren, Belted Kingfisher, Pied-Billed Grebe, Killdeer, Northern Shoveler, Brewer’s Blackbird, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail (many thousands), Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Greater White-Fronted Geese, Western Scrub-Jay, Eurasian Collared Dove, Mourning Dove, Turkey Vulture, California Quail, Spotted Towhee (heard), Red-Shouldered Hawk, Red-Tailed Hawk, Bewick’s Wren, House Wren.
It was a whirlwind tour of three good winter birding destinations. I also noticed a different hosting philosophy between state-run and fed-run facilities. While the state-run site (Gray Lodge) had a fully prepared bed-and-breakfast for the tired and hungry avian guests, the feds seemed content to wait until after the guests arrived to set the table. The results were dramatically different. Where Sacramento and Colusa (federal) were virtually barren and absent of waterfowl over most of their acreages, Gray Lodge was flush.
Once the flooding at the NWR’s begins, I expect thing will pick up at those sites. [If you flood it, will they come?]
Seems I’m always playing catch up. Here it is two days later and I have a ton to process about my stay on the coast near San Simeon <sigh>.