A Day at the Refuge

Posted from near Buttonwillow, California at 7:39 pm, December 28th, 2012

In the 1800s there was wetland from Sacramento to Bakersfield, and a person could travel the entire route by boat. Today ninety-five percent of that has been converted to farmland or cities, so one can only imagine how insanely awesome the wildlife must once have been.

Wakeup was at 6AM to catch sunrise at the Merced NWR and to hopefully see the cranes before they dispersed for the day. It was ridiculously foggy, but the calls of several hundred cranes helped with locating the birds and I managed to grab a few shots as they departed to their favorite breakfast spots. Unfortunately the elusive “money shot” was not to be had today, so a crane photo remains on the bucket list.

The entire day was spent at the refuge, with a brief intermission to eat a massive biscuit and take a shower. Hawks, herons, and a few thousand snow geese were among the day’s other sights – if what I saw represents five percent of the historic abundance, the Central Valley must have been a wonder in its wildlife prime. Tonight will most likely again be spent sleeping in the glorious confines of the Subaru, with tomorrow’s plan (subject to change) being to meander along a route to Death Valley that I’ve never tried before.

Sandhill cranes at sunrise

A flock of about two hundred cranes dispersed in a matter of minutes when the sun came up, making for a frantic and fun photo shoot.

White-fronted geese and the full moon

A shot from yesterday of white-fronted geese flying past the full moon. I thought this was a neat shot although perhaps a bit too odd for the journal, but Audrey gave her approval.

One Response to “A Day at the Refuge”

  1. Mom says:

    Loved both pictures! What a son!

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