Monday, March 19, 2012

Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge

This is what Alice in Wonderland saw

On long trips, Dollie and I have been known to park the car and do a moderate hike just to break up the monotony. However, with Mom in the car, a hike was out of the question. So we stopped instead at the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge near Maxwell. 

Great egret

Touring is done by car because they don't want walkers to scare the birds, as if a car was any better. But at any rate, we took the 6 mile car loop through the marshes and ponds of the refuge. Less than 100 yards into the drive, a beautifully plumed egret crossed the road, unconcerned by the car and the clicking noise of my camera.

An American coot that is not my neighbor

The ponds support an abundance of waterfowl, mostly of the duck variety. I noticed a particular duck species that sported a wide spade-like bill. Up until now, I would have thought the term "northern shoveler" would have referred to a Canadian politician and not a duck. 

Northern shoveler

White-faced ibises strolled along the shoreline and shallows of the marshes.  Their faces really aren't all that white and their curved beaks made them look quite exotic as they elegantly strolled past their waddling duck friends.

A wedge of ibis
American white pelicans take over the island

Several islands in the pond were covered in white, and not the white of bird poop, either. Although there was plenty of that around.  Nope, these islands had been taken over by pelicans and snow geese. By the way, a flock of snow geese is referred to as a blizzard of geese. A flock of pelicans is referred to as a scoop of pelicans. Just thought I'd throw in some random trivia, but a scoop and a blizzard certainly sounds more apropos to Dairy Queen.

Bye, Sacramento River NWR

After closing the car loop, it was back to business as usual and we headed back onto the freeway to complete the long drive back to Oregon where we could resume our our more usual hiking routine. 


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