As it turned out, the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge was the last stop of our trip, other than restaurants and a motel. It was wonderfully sunny when we arrived, but getting dark by the time we left. As Pat Wolfe noted in a recent comment, capturing light is a critical part of photography, and the light was almost magical at the beginning. Leslie managed to get some good shots before we even started the auto tour.
We saw Black-necked Stilts everywhere we went in California and got some great closeups at Merced, but I love this shot of one searching for food in a shallow pond.
I like how this Killdeer’s black and white plumage sharply stands out among the brown, blurred, dried-out grass as if in a spotlight,
and the same can be said for the black plumage with purple highlights of this Brewer’s Blackbird.
Female Red-winged Blackbirds often seem a dull brown, but the late-afternoon sun highlighted the gold streaks in this one’s plumage.
We didn’t see a lot of birds that we didn’t already have hundreds of pictures of from previous stops on this trip, but I’m always awed and humbled when I visit a magical place like this.