Merced National Wildlife Refuge

Since Jeff was attending a reunion and Debbie had medical appointments when we arrived in Fresno, Leslie and I decided to visit the Merced National Wildlife Refuge. I’d read about the refuge a year or so before and recommended it to Jeff and Debbie but had never managed to see it myself.

The refuge is known for the large number of Sandhill Cranes that overwinter there. We were rather disappointed after our first drive through the auto tour.

Even though it’s hard not to be impressed by the flight of these giant birds


and their precision




we had hoped to see more of them and to get some close-up shots of them.


Luckily we got a chance to talk to a ranger just as we were about to leave and she informed us that most of the cranes and geese were out feeding in nearby fields and that they should be returning shortly.

Though we wanted to make sure we got back to the house before Jeff returned, we decided to make one more drive around the refuge before returning. Thank goodness, because it was like visiting an entirely different refuge the second time around.