Date: 1/26/19 7:21 pm
From: <ltjaeger...>
Subject: Re: [MBBIRDS] question about Snow Geese
Nice additional details from Kent

A lot of what you see depends on where you go in each area. If you can spend a couple of days birding, head north and visit the variety of spots around the Butte Sink/Sacto NWR complex. Merced is easier to do as a day trip.

The viewing deck at the entrance to Colusa NWR has INCREDIBLE light in the morning, and the geese sit pretty close to you on the water. It’s a must stop if you go north.

Eurasian Wigeon - as Kent mentions, there’s more of them at Sacto et al, especially at Graylodge State Refuge. I once had 22 on a trip I led, and I mentioned that to the Wolfe sisters and they thought that was impossibly high. So Chris and Claire proceeded to find TWENTY-SEVEN on that trip!!! It takes a lot of focused effort to hit double digits, but you can usually find a few

Sandhill Cranes are in both areas, but Merced etc usually has more, and almost has them in more concentrated numbers

Not to be contentious about Tundra Swans, but I usually see 2,000 to 5,000 on Sacto trips. Road Z south of the Llano Seco NWR Unit is the most consistent spot, but there are several others. And if you wander east to the Marysville area, with a little luck, you can add another 5,000

My real advice is to visit BOTH. If you’re going on the Panoche Valley trip next weekend, one great option is to head to Los Banos at the end of the day and then hit Merced NWR et al the next morning

Clay








Sent from my iPhone

> On Jan 26, 2019, at 10:34 AM, Kent <kentjohnson...> wrote:
>
> Hi Carol,
>
> I'm sure Clay knows these areas better than I, but I visited both earlier this month and have visited both past winters, so I will offer my two cents worth. If you have not visited Sacramento and Colusa NWRs and others in the area, I would suggest going up there just for a little different experience. If you don't mind the drive - it is a very long way for a day trip. There are lots of white geese in both that and the Merced/San Luis NWRs areas; maybe more in the north, but the sky can only hold so many geese at one time and it fills up in both. I have had better luck seeing geese on the ground at Merced, and more Ross's Geese at Merced. I have also had better luck with Tundra Swans at Merced and especially San Luis. Merced and San Luis are also better for Sandhill Cranes. Among the less abundant birds, Sacramento/Colusa are better for Eurasian Widgeon and Ring-necked Pheasant. On the way up to Sacramento NWR you might like a short side trip to the little cemetery just west of Maxwell, which is hosting a bright male Vermillion Flycatcher.
>
> Kent Johnson
> Boulder Creek
>
>
> From: <mbbirds...> <mbbirds...> on behalf of Clay Kempf <ltjaeger...>
> Sent: Friday, January 25, 2019 7:53 PM
> To: Carol Pecot
> Cc: Birds
> Subject: Re: [MBBIRDS] question about Snow Geese
>
> Hi Carol-
>
> Either place is spectacular.
>
> The time of your trip plays into which place to go to, however. Sacto NWR numbers peak around mid-Nov, and gradually decrease after mid-December as some birds continue to move southward (until they turn back towards their nesting ground in the spring). Merced numbers peak a little later. However, in my opinion, the Sacto NWR/Butte Sink complex generally has more geese; definitely has more Tundra Swans, and has additional options such as the grasslands around Sutter Buttes to vary the experience.
>
> I actually just left Sacramento NWR a couple of hours ago, where the evening flyout was fantastic. Large flocks of White-faced Ibis were also all over the place.
>
> The Santa Cruz Bird Club offers trips to both destinations annually. Sacto has already occurred (and it did NOT disappoint!), but Eric Feuss is leading a Merced NWR trip if you want to join that.
>
> Bottom line is your can’t go wrong either way.
>
> Clay
>
> Clay Kempf
> Elkhorn
>
>
>
> > On Jan 25, 2019, at 6:45 PM, Carol Pecot <carol.pecot...> wrote:
> >
> > My husband and I are thinking of driving to see the Snow Geese. Does anyone know if the places north of Sacramento have much larger numbers than the Merced wildlife refuge? What are the best places to go see them within about a 4-ish hour drive?
> >
> > Thanks to anyone who is able to help!
> > Carol Pecot
> >
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