At these two premier bird watching destinations in the heart of California's Central Valley you can witness the drama and dynamics of the Pacific Flyway on a spectacular scale. Join us and be mesmerized by the sights and sounds of hundreds-ofthousands of ducks, geese and swans spiraling overhead like a tornado! During this adventure you may observe a rich array of waterfowl, waders, shorebirds, raptors, and songbirds. With more than 70,000 acres of habitat this refuge complex provides habitat for almost 300 species of birds! These Important Bird Areas play winter host to nearly the entire global population of Tule Greater Whitefronted Geese and most of the Ross’s Geese.
After a great day of birding the other two refuges above, continue onto the llano Seco Unit and later Gray Lodge State Wildlife Area for more views of waterfowl. Llano Seco has viewing platforms which afford great close views of ducks and geese ! Often on the drive to the unit we see Tundra Swans in the fields, along with Sandhill Cranes. Afterwards we will proceed south to Gray Lodge to hopefully view the fly in (or out?) of waterfowl at sunset. Depending on timing we may do a short walk. We plan on meeting the group at Starbucks in Willows at 505 N. Humboldt. This is just adjacent to I-5 on the east side. We can then drive to Llano seco together checking the fields. Bring you lunch. Trip will go rain or shine.
Directions: To reach Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge headquarters which is located approximately 90 miles north of the metropolitan area of Sacramento on Interstate 5 and six miles south of the town of Willows. When traveling north on Interstate 5 passed the town of Maxwell, take exit #595 Road 68, and make a left turn and travel north on County Road 99W for 1.5 miles and reach the refuge entrance. The six-mile Auto Tour Route starts at the Visitor Center. Restrooms and parking spaces are available at the Visitor Center. The driving surface of the auto tour route is an all-weather packed gravel road. At this location a fee is required for a pass, or it is free for seniors, and/or a Federal Duck Stamp. To reach the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge from the town of Colusa, travel roughly .5 miles west on Highway 20 to the refuge entrance on your right (south). We will meet at the Interpretive kiosk located at the start of the three-mile self-guide auto tour route. The driving surface is an all-weather packed gravel road. As time permits, we may explore the one-mile Nature Discovery Walk and viewing deck. Restrooms and parking spaces are available at the staging area/Interpretive kiosk.