This blog post was written by one of the refuge staff, Amanda Geahry. Thanks for the posting Amanda!
Have you ever been to the Complex during the summer? Many people who visit the Complex during the fall/winter migration season don’t think to visit during the hot summer months, but there is an abundance of wildlife to view from the comfort of your air-conditioned car! Despite the lack of large groups of waterfowl and raptors you see during fall migration, the Complex has a variety of wildlife to offer March – August, including waterfowl, raptors, mammals, and everything in between! In the spring the refuge expands the auto tour to include pond 2 which has its own unique wildlife. If you have ventured to the Sacramento Refuge this summer I’m sure you have seen the nesting grebes along Pool 2. Clark’s and Western grebes will build nests in colonies and this year they have been nesting close to the Pool 2 road! River otters have been spotted this summer, and there have been frequent visits by bald eagles, just not the same quantities we see during the fall and winter. The resident Great Horned Owls have been out and about during the day on occasion as well. Below is a list of just a few of the species you can see during the summer. Everything listed comes from my own species lists from Sacramento and Colusa Refuges between April and August; the lowest number of species I observed was 34! I have only been to the Sacramento and Colusa Refuges about half a dozen times between April and August this year but as you can see, THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING INTERESTING TO BE FOUND! If you are someone who likes to get out and stretch your legs with a nice walk, the Sacramento Refuge has the 2-mile Wetlands Walk trail that is perfect for you! Many songbirds can be seen on this trail and it is a great way to stretch your legs before or after the auto tour. Lastly, during the summer, bicycles are permitted on parts of the auto tour (May 15- August 15). Everyone is riding bikes this year, and riding is a unique way to experience the Sacramento refuge.
The “wildlife checklist” is a wonderful way to see what is around during this time of year. Check that out here: https://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/Region_8/NWRS/Zone_1/Sacramento_Complex/Sacramento/Uploaded_Files/Maps_and_Brochures/Visitor_Services/Refuge_VS_Brochures/WildlifeList%20SNWRC%20for%20web%20smaller.pdf Aside from the beautiful scenery and wildlife, I have personally found the Refuges to be a sanctuary and resource for relaxation during the COVID-19 pandemic. What are you waiting for? Grab your binoculars, favorite ID book, and camera for some wonderful wildlife viewing at the Complex! Potential wildlife to see between March and August (not a complete list!):
Red winged blackbird Tri-color blackbird Yellow headed blackbird Western Kingbird Killdeer Bald Eagle Swainson’s Hawk Osprey River otters American bittern Great horned owl Bullock’s Oriole Coyote Great tailed grackle White faced ibis Wild Turkey American White Pelican Mallard Caspian Tern Western Meadowlark Ring necked pheasant Ruddy duck American Goldfinch Western Tanager Cliff Swallow Tree Swallow Gadwall duck Muskrat