Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Our First Visit to "The Bird Place"

Wow!! Today we drove out to the Sacramento Wildlife Refuge. It only took about an hour and it was one of the nicest days I've had in a while! We saw so many different types of birds and ducks. Most of the park is wetlands and marshes. All over the place are these American Coots. They look like all-black ducks with white bills. We saw three types of cranes. Brown speckledy which could have been Sandhill Cranes or American Bitterns. The gorgeous white crane with big orange feet is actually the Snowy Egret. I also saw a black crane which turned out to be a Double-crested Cormorant. We saw several kinds of ducks. Male and female Mallard ducks, Northern Shovelers which look like male mallards but a little different. And Cinnamon Teals that had rust-colored bodies and maroon heads. There was also a giant flock of white Ross's Geese.

We saw some Red-winged Blackbirds which are very common, but I've never seen one before. We saw and heard lots of Ring-necked Pheasants, both male and female. Huge sea gulls were flying overhead, but it was difficult to identify which specific type they were. There were lots of sandpipers in the marshes. Some were all brown, some had white or black wings with white bodies.

The neatest thing we saw would have to be the Red-tailed Hawk. He was beautiful. He was snowy white with rust spots, light tan with a white chin. He sat in the tree and almost looked like a statue.

We got some really great pictures with our new zoom lens camera. We also saw Marsh Wrens, Beechy Ground Squirrels, Black-tailed Jackrabbits, two Black-tailed deer together and then later saw one running through water.

It was so beautiful out there. With the walking trails and auto tour, we saw so many different things. The sounds of all the birds was incredible, too. We will definitely go back to experience the different seasons when there are different species there :)

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