Cranes & Geese - Fall 2007

Sandhill Crane by Bob Peregrine by Greg WilsonCelia and Pat by Hanno Tundra Swans by Hanno Lewis's Woodpecker by Obie GilkersonRed-tailed Hawk with kill by Obie Gilkerson Evening light by Kathy Compagno

A three-day trip with spectacular numbers of birds.  Our first two days centered on large waterfowl, and we found 5 species of geese; swans, cranes and numerous ducks.  Our last day at Hammon Grove County Park focused on smaller birds like Rock Wren, and Spenceville Wildlife Area showed off about 30 Lewis's Woodpeckers.  The weather was perfect...  it was a delightful trip.

Friday & Saturday

Meeting at Westgate Landing County Park, we counted participants -- a big group!  Luckily, most folks were in carpools, so things worked out pretty well.  The waterfowl were already stringing out overhead as some spotted a Green Heron, and it looked like they were headed for Woodbridge - so we did the same.

The Crane Overlook here is often bereft of birds, but not this time.  Lots of Sandhills, and a bit further down the road we found the huge concentration of Cackling Geese that we'd seen the previous year.  There are several thousand of these birds here - perhaps most of the Aleutian race winters in our back yard!

Sacramento also didn't disappoint, with its own thousands - of White-fronted Geese and White-faced Ibis.  A Peregrine Falcon roosted over the road, and when the photographers returned Saturday morning with a bit better light, it was still there.  Gray Lodge had its own specialty -- thousands of white geese - Snow and lots of Ross's.  After finishing the birding day with swans near Marysville, a real treat Saturday night was dinner at Taste of India in Yuba City, set up by Elinor.


Hammon County Park was a bit quiet, but we did manage to add Common Merganser, Bald Eagle, Rock Wren and White-breasted Nuthatch to the list.  Spenceville greeted us with an artillery fusillade (the local rifle range was fully utilized) but a bit further down the road the Lewis's Woodpeckers were ferrying acorns to hollow trees, competing successfully with Acorn Woodpeckers, who were pounding the acorns into their own graineries.  A mid-day walk was pretty quiet, but Rusty managed to roust one Rufous-crowned Sparrow that a few folks glimpsed.  With over 100 species, and thousands of individual birds, it was a very birdy weekend!