Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 2, 2023

Viewing Cranes and Other Birds in Stockton delta wetlands

from the Lodi Sandhill Crane Association

Although reports indicate the recent rains and resulting flooding have dispersed the cranes, there is still time to enjoy them before they head north to spring breeding areas. The Stockton delta wetlands provide the largest area of freshwater marsh wintering habitat in the state, not only for Sandhill Cranes but for other waterfowl as well.

The cranes remain in this area typically until late February. There are also many other birds to see, including several varieties of ducks, Greater White-fronted Geese, Aleutian Cackling Geese (a type of Canada goose), Snow Geese, several species of egrets, and Great Blue Herons. Shore birds such as Black-necked Stilts, Crested Cormorants, and Coots are present. Also check for raptors, including Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, and Kestrels. Many of the ducks and geese leave at about the same time as the cranes, although Snow Geese stick around a bit longer.

Cosumnes River Preserve on the Cosumnes River offers excellent viewing opportunities. Visit their website for information on the status of their trails, some of which were damaged in recent storms.

Woodbridge Ecological Reserve is another major viewing site. It is managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which offers tours. See their website for more information.

The third major viewing site in the Lodi area is 9,200-acre Staten Island, a prime example of how wildlife-friendly farming can contribute to wildlife conservation. It is located at 23532 N Staten Island Rd, beyond the end of Thornton Road, west of Interstate 5.

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