January 15, 2010

Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

the meadowlark

Today I had the day off so I headed up to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge in Willows, CA with my mom. It's 10,819 acres of marsh, ponds and wetlands that is a bird's paradise. November-January is the best time to see THOUSANDS of geese and duck. My mom would like to call herself an "avid bird watcher" and we were also able to spot hawks, red-wing blackbirds, egrets, meadowlarks (my favorite) woodpeckers, pheasants, great blue herons, and some non-fowl like squirrels and deer.

egret flying away

It's outrageously overwhelming to see a pond that is more or less covered by floating, squawking objects! Then a sound or movement will spark them and all at once you hear the flapping of wings crescendo and this layer of birds all fly away from the pond in a giant flock.

here they are

and there they go

What was really disturbing was the hawk that had some other poor bird with it's guts out underneath his talons... but I guess that's how the ecosystem stays in check...

hawk with prey

my mom's favorite, the red-winged black bird

...oddly enough, right across the road from the refuge... is a duck hunting club :-(

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