Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

I must have driven by the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge twenty times or so since I’ve taken up birdwatching because it is such a long drive home from Santa Rosa and I’m generally in a rush. I nearly did that on this trip too, but since I was alone I decided to stop and check it out, figuring that, if need be, I could spend the night nearby.

I’m certainly glad I did, and I’m sure I’ll be stopping by many more times in the future.

I saw a number of birds that I’ve seen before, but rarely. Although the great egret is becoming more and more common in the Pacific Northwest, I very seldom see a Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

which has always seemed the more elegant of the two egrets we see regularly.

I also enjoyed seeing this male Gadwall,

male Gadwall

and several Northern Pintails.

Northern Pintail Taking Off

I’ve only seen one other Eared Grebe

Eared Grebe

and that was in the middle of a rainstorm in Malheur. Unfortunately it wasn’t in breeding colors. Although it’s the most common grebe in America, the Pacific Northwest appears to be outside its normal range.