Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Gray Lodge State Wildlife Area

Today we took the dogs for a walk at Gray Lodge State Wildlife Area, where over a million waterfowl spend the winter. Here I am with the dogs.

Supposedly, about 60% of the waterfowl population in the Pacific Flyway and about 20% of the waterfowl population in North America spend the winter in California's Central Valley. According to this, 95% of Central Valley wetlands have been drained or filled in over the past 100 years. As a result, waterfowl have become increasingly dependent upon refuges such as this one. But although we did see plenty of birds there, the place did not actually present very good opportunities for photographing the birds - at least not today. I've gotten much closer to birds, and gotten better bird photographs as a result, on the American River Parkway in Sacramento than I did at Gray Lodge.

The first bird I managed to get a picture of at all was this egret near the parking lot. (The parking lot is semi-visible in the photo, directly behind the eucalyptus trees. The only vehicle clearly visible is Susan's silver truck.)

Gray Lodge is directly north of the Sutter Buttes, so I got a lot of photographs with the Sutter Buttes in the distance.

Susan and Boston stopped to peer over the edge of a rickety platform. Ganymede hung back on the shore, because he's not the adventurous sort.

We stopped at several wildlife viewing hides and platforms, including two fully enclosed buildings designed to let us view wildlife up close without being noticed by them. Unfortunately, no wildlife happened to be anywhere near the buildings. I took this photograph out the window of one of the buildings.

We followed two different trails, the Flyway Trail and the Wetlands Discovery Trail. The latter trail had numbered markers and a pamphlet to tell us about each marker. However, most of the markers said something about looking for a particular animal species, and of course the animals didn't happen to be sitting next to their numbered markers. So mostly what we saw was the canals alongside the trails.

Here's the Sutter Buttes again.

And a big cluster of white birds.

And a big cluster of black birds.

And some rabbits. We saw four rabbits total, in various places, but of course, none were anywhere near the numbered marker that said "Look for black-tailed jackrabbits and desert cottontails."

We stopped on a wildlife viewing platform, and Susan took a picture of the dogs, with my feet in the background.

This was part of the view from the viewing platform.

Then we continued alongside the canal until we returned to the parking lot.

Tags: photographs, susan
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