Looking for Sandhill Cranes and anything else that flies, wades, swims or hops in the Sacramento River Delta
I had read that Its a Good Birding Season in the Central Valley (older Natural History Wanderings blog entry). So yesterday we did an all day Central Valley-Sacramento Delta Birding trip. Our destinations were Staten Island, Consumnes River Preserve and Woodbridge Ecological Reserve (AKA Isenberg Crane Reserve). Staten Island is a an area where Sandhill Cranes are found feeding during the day in the Sacramento River Delta. ( No, this is not the Staten Island that is one of the five boroughs of New York City.) It is one of the many islands formed by the Sacramento River and its levee system. Consumnes River Preserve is a protected wetland area with public walks and a visitor center. Woodbridge Ecological Reserve is a prime place for watching Sandhill Cranes come into roost at Sunset.
On the way to our first stop, which was Staten Island, our driver (me) took a wrong turn and we ended up doing an unplanned drive along Andrus Island Rd. This is one of the better mistakes I have made. There were many birds along the route as well as a number of good looks at groups of Sandhill Cranes. Next we did make it to Staten Island where we saw many species (see list below) as well as the expected Sandhill Cranes and Tundra Swans. When sharing notes with another birder about Andrus Island Rd., he told us that Race Track and Tyler Island Roads also had good birding. If you want to go to Staten Island it is south of the town of Walnut Grove off of county Road J-11.
At Consumnes the best birds were along the boardwalk area near the parking lot north of the visitor’s center and main parking lot. There were many water birds (see list below). Having spent a lot of time at the earlier stops we headed off to Woodbridge Road to see the Cranes come in and they didn’t disappoint. (see photos in slideshow). Many Tundra Swans flew out as the Cranes came in.
Bird list for Staten Island and Andous Island Roads: Sandhill Crane, Meadowlark, Red-wing Blackbird, Raven, White-tailed Kite, Killdeer, Brewer’s Blackbird, California Quail, Red-tailed Hawk, Kestrel, Scrub Jay, Canada Goose, American Coot, Tundra Swan, American Widgeon, Canvasback, Ruddy Duck, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler,Ross’s Goose, Gull, Black-necked Stilt, Goldeneye probably Common), Song Sparrow
Bird list for Consumnes: Sandhill Crane, American Coot, Norther Shoveler, Canada Goose, Northern Pintail, Cinnamon Teal, Mallard, Dowitcher, American Pipit,Lesser Yellowlegs, Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, Common Snipe, Great Blue Heron, Brewer’s Blackbird, White-fronted Goose, Snow Goose, Gull Red-winged Blackbird, Great Egret, Marsh Wren. Also a very cooperative Cotton-tail Rabbit.
A good book for the Consumnes and Woodbridge areas is the Falcon Press Birding Northern California.
If you are interested in Central Valley Birding check this earlier posting on the Sacramento and Colusa Wildlife Refuges.
- Delta’s ecological decline is breathing new life into bypass proposals (latimesblogs.latimes.com)