I think most of you know how important our National Wildlife Refuge system is to me. After all, I have written several posts on wildlife conservation and the Wildlife Conservation Pass that my co-founder Ingrid Taylar and I have been encouraging for years.
This week I have simply put together a post featuring several of my favorite photos, all taken on our National Wildlife Refuges. I hope you enjoy it.
The featured image above was taken from photo blind #1 at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR). The sub-adult Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) below was photographed from the same blind. Click on photos for full sized images.
Another gem from the Delevan blind is this Northern Harrier (Cicus hudsonius)
There are many raptors found at the refuges in the Sacramento Valley of California. This Red Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) was found on the SNWR auto tour loop…
As was this Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
Of course there are plenty of Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) around. This juvenile was photographed on the auto tour route at Colusa NWR.
The auto tour route at SNWR even holds Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus)
Of course the refuges are full of waterfowl, like this seriously disregarded, yet beautiful, American Coot (Fulica americana)…
and this Cinnamon Teal (Spatula cyanoptera) drake …
and Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors) drake …
and this Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) drake …
and a pair of American Wigeon (Mareca americana) …
and, of course, the ever present Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) pair photographed at Colusa NWR
Another drake photographed at Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, this image taken from the photo blind there, is the Gadwall (Mareca strepera).
The auto tour at Colusa NWR also boasts several other pretty special birds, like this White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi) …
and a Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) roost.
This refuge offers such a wide variety of species, that I wrote a post awhile back showing several species of wading birds in the same location on the auto tour route. Check out this image of a Great Egret (Ardea alba), Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) and Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) together.
I also found this American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) on the Colusa auto tour…
and this Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus) on the SNWR auto tour.
From the SNWR blind #2 comes this Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)…
and one of nearly 50 Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) frolicking around the snag placed near the blind, giving many species a place to perch.
The snag at Delevan NWR not only attracts Peregrine Falcons but Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) as well.
Recently there has been a Northern Shrike (Lanius borealis) hanging out on the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge auto tour route. I was lucky enough last week to catch the bird perched near the end of a branch.
Some of the other song birds more commonly seen at the refuge include the Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)…
the Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)…
the Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)…
and the Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta).
This Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) was perched over the pond right next to the SNWR visitor center.
Now, there have been some rare birds found at these incredibly diverse refuges. The only Eurasian Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca crecca) I ever saw was at SNWR auto tour route.
And, of course, the infamous Falcated Duck (Mareca falcata) viewed by thousands of birders from the Colusa NWR viewing platform.
Still, one of my favorite photos was taken at Modoc National Wildlife Refuge where I was thrilled to witness a Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis) with its colt. What a joy!
I will close with a video from Colusa National Wildlife Refuge
Larry Jordan was introduced to birding after moving to northern California where he was overwhelmed by the local wildlife, forcing him to buy his first field guide just to be able to identify all the species visiting his yard. Building birdhouses and putting up feeders brought the avian fauna even closer and he was hooked. Larry wanted to share his passion for birds and conservation and hatched The Birder's Report in September of 2007. His recent focus is on bringing the Western Burrowing Owl back to life in California where he also monitors several bluebird trails. He is a BirdLife Species Champion and contributes to several other conservation efforts, being the webmaster for Wintu Audubon Society and the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Urban Bird Foundation. He is now co-founder of a movement to create a new revenue stream for our National Wildlife Refuges with a Wildlife Conservation Pass.
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