Final Shots from the Sacramento NWR

Serious birders will drive hundreds of miles to try to track down a particular bird; I’m not a serious birder. I don’t chase birds, though I do look forward to seeing them at certain places. As I noted yesterday, I had hoped to see hundreds of Snow Geese at the Sacramento NWR as I have seen in the past. I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed that I only saw few of them. Truthfully, though, I go to the Sacramento NWR because I love the PLACE. It’s full of life no matter when I go there, even though it’s not always the life I expect to see.

For instance, I can almost always count on seeing Snowy Egret like this one

and Great Egrets, like this one that just happened to be standing right next to the Snowy Egret.

And if that wasn’t treat enough, I got shots of this male House Finch

and this Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

while standing on the same platform.

I didn’t have to drive too far down the road before Leslie caught this shot of a Downy Woodpecker beside the road

and I got this shot of a Red-Tailed Hawk

daring me to cross into forbidden territory.

Back to the Sacramento NWR

We just got back from a week-long trip to California where we had hoped to get a respite from the Pacific Northwest’s constant rain. After encountering heavy snow and rain near Mt. Shasta, I wasn’t too happy to wake up to a thick fog that made me wonder if it was even worth driving to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Luckily, a few miles this side of the refuge, the fog began to clear and sunshine broke through the clouds.

The early morning light was both a blessing and a curse, highlighting this Jackrabbit’s ears,

while casting nasty shadows in the background. The ISO for this shot was actually quite high, and the shot had to be pushed to make it this light.

Although much of the surroundings were in deep shadows, the early morning alpenglow made anything it hit seem even more beautiful than it might actually have been. Although most of this pheasant is in the shadows, the feathers in the sunlight could almost be gold.

A few minutes later and a half mile down the road, these Greater White-Fronted Geese seem quite striking to me.

I think the same can safely be said for this shot of a Snowy Egret stalking the drainage ditch that separates the road from the holding ponds.