Sacramento NWR

Sacramento NWR, located in California's Sacramento Valley approximately an hour north of the city of Sacramento, consists of wetlands, farmlands, riparian areas, and sections of grassland. In my opinion visiting this refuge is best done in winter. Summer can be very dry and hot and the numbers of birds can be quite a bit lower.

In winter the refuge is home to thousands of waterfowl including such species as Snow and Ross's Geese, Greater White-fronted Geese, Tundra Swan, Mallard, American and Eurasion Widgeon, Green-winged, Blue-winged and Cinnamon Teal, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveller, and many other species. Blue-winged Teal and Eurasion Widgeon are less numerous and some years I see multiple dark-morph Snow Geese in the area.

Bald Eagle are relatively normal on the refuge, though I don't see them every trip. Peregrine Falcon are usually present also, and its not uncommon to see one perched along the auto tour route. Other raptors in the area include Turkey Vulture, Golden Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk and Northern Harrier.

Other species I see on a regular basis include White-faced Ibis, Common Moorhen, Great and Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Ring-necked Pheasant (quite often in large numbers), American Pipit, American Avocet and Black-necked Stilt.

Unlike most National Wildlife Refuges I've visited, Sacramento requires a entrance fee so be prepared with some cash when visiting.

Directions: The refuge is located along Hwy 5 near the town of Willows. The exit along Hwy 5 is well-marked and the entrance to the refuge is located along the frontage road, just follow the signs.


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