Greater White-fronted Goose

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.

Bald Eagle Sub-adult

The photo blind at Delevan National Wildlife Refuge gave me this close up of a Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Peregrine Falcon

Another gem from the Delevan blind is this Northern Harrier (Cicus hudsonius)

Northern Harrier

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…

Red-shouldered Hawk

As was this Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)

Cooper's Hawk

Of course there are plenty of Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) around. This juvenile was photographed on the auto tour route at Colusa NWR.

Red-tailed Hawk Juvenile

The auto tour route at SNWR even holds Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus)

Great-horned Owl

Of course the refuges are full of waterfowl, like this seriously disregarded, yet beautiful, American Coot (Fulica americana)…

American Coot

and this Cinnamon Teal (Spatula cyanoptera) drake …

Cinnamon Teal Drake

and Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors) drake …

Blue-winged Teal Drake

and this Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) drake …

Northern Shoveler Drake

and a pair of American Wigeon (Mareca americana) …

American Wigeon Pair

and, of course, the ever present Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) pair photographed at Colusa NWR

Northern Pintail Pair

Another drake photographed at Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, this image taken from the photo blind there, is the Gadwall (Mareca strepera).

Gadwall Drake

The auto tour at Colusa NWR also boasts several other pretty special birds, like this White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi) …

White-faced Ibis

and a Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) roost.

Black-crowned Night-Heron

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.

Great Egret, Snowy Egret and Cattle Egret

I also found this American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) on the Colusa auto tour…

American Bittern

and this Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus) on the SNWR auto tour.

Long-billed Curlew

From the SNWR blind #2 comes this Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)…

Black-necked Stilt

and one of nearly 50 Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) frolicking around the snag placed near the blind, giving many species a place to perch.

Tree Swallow

The snag at Delevan NWR not only attracts Peregrine Falcons but Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) as well.

Red-winged Blackbird Male

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.

Northern Shrike

Some of the other song birds more commonly seen at the refuge include the Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)…

Golden-crowned Sparrow

the Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)…

Lincoln Sparrow

the Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)…

Marsh Wren

and the Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta).

Western Meadowlark

This Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) was perched over the pond right next to the SNWR visitor center.

Belted Kingfisher

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.

Eurasian Green-winged Teal

And, of course, the infamous Falcated Duck (Mareca falcata) viewed by thousands of birders from the Colusa NWR viewing platform.

Falcated Duck Drake

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!

Sandhill Crane with Colt

I will close with a video from Colusa National Wildlife Refuge

Written by Larry
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.