Oh ho - Yolo! -- Saturday, 11/3/12
Imagine 16,000 acres of wetlands bursting with waterfowl and birds of every size - like a colossal open-air aviary - and you have Yolo Basin Wildlife Area. Located between Davis and Sacramento, it was a convenient hop for us from our campsite at Cal-Expo in Sacramento. We planned to return to our home in Nevada City later in the afternoon, so we unhooked and temporarily parked Tergel offsite, and drove Smartie to Yolo. It's impossible to convey with words and the less-than-stellar photos below just how overwhelming the bird life is here; e.g., when a whole flock of birds and/or ducks takes to the sky at one time! It wasn't especially noisy, either. It was, however, quite special. (Click on any picture to enlarge)
Jimmy looking thru the binocs at what looked like a mixed flock of mallards and Northern Shovelers.
Not too much blooming this time of year, but cabbage butterflies were all over a patch of yellow hawkweed.
Coots (old ones?) skedaddling away from me. Thousands of coots are here.
The sky is choked with birds on the wing!
The abundance of wildlife in Yolo can be attributed to the various habitats found within. There are four major habitat types: Permanent wetlands, Seasonal wetlands, Riparian forests, and Grasslands. Yolo offers an auto tour, which we did, plus hikes of various lengths on dry paths or gravel roads around the lakes and wetlands. Watching the clock as we were, our hike was a short one.
According to an informational sign, approx 2500 acres is set up in infrastructure for rice production (Rice Field Management). We saw the flooded fields. These acres attract lots of migratory shorebirds, which we know is a fact -- we saw oodles and oodles!
Chicory making a last stand before winter sets in.
Our binocs weren't strong enough to make out many of the duck species, as we couldn't get close (without getting soaked, that is -- ha ha). We'll be back; next time, we'll bring our bird scope and a camera with a better lens!
Covering 25 square miles and home to nearly 200 species of birds, as well as thousands of migratory waterfowl and shorebirds, this Wildlife Area is located in the heart of one of the country's richest agricultural areas, alongside one of America's busiest people freeways (I-80), and next to the bustling Sacramento metropolitan area. How handy for all us people to live so close!