Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

Although I knew that this wasn’t the best time of year to visit the Sacramento Wildlife Refuge and that first light isn’t the best time for lighting, I can’t imagine not stopping by the refuge on our way to Santa Rosa. It’s that delightful even in off-season and ridiculously early in the morning.

We got this shot of a young buck just after sunrise,


and if it wasn’t for the quality of light I would have just deleted it without a second thought.

Much of the refuge hadn’t been filled with water yet, but the areas that did have water were certainly filled with large numbers of ducks that seemed aware that hunting season is near.


No matter how I early I get out birding at home, I’m never serenaded by a Meadowlark,


a great way to start any day.

Although we didn’t see some of the rarer birds, like American Avocets, we did see several Snowy Egrets, one of my favorite birds to photograph.


We even saw a single Night Heron.


The best shot of the day, though, came at the end of the tour when we sighted this Peregrine Falcon


posing in ideal sunlight while both Leslie and I shot away. Although I’ve managed to get shots of Peregrine Falcons even at home, I’m pretty sure these were the best shots we’ve ever managed to get — even if it was Leslie who actually captured the shot.

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