October at San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge
Autumn is upon us, that glorious season marked by the return of so many long-absent friends. While we have bidden farewell to many of our last warm-weather friends, those birds who leave the Central Valley to spend the winter in the distant tropics, a whole new suite of avian life is arriving on our doorstep.
I've been fortunate enough recently to be able to spend a couple of days out at one of my favorite local haunts, the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge, wandering the looping trails, watching the birds (and counting 70 different species), while soaking in the warmth and golden glow that is autumn in the Valley.
|Sandhill Cranes fly low over the wetland at San Joaquin River NWR.|
|A lone Great Blue Heron stalks in the shallows.|
|Great Blue Heron|
|A successful catch!|
|Wetlands lined with tule reeds, cattails and willows are excellent bird habitat.|
|The subtle beauty of a Hermit Thrush blends into the branches of an elderberry.|
|A Fox Sparrow doing what Fox Sparrows do: scratching in the leaf litter.|
|Golden grasses and fluffy clouds of autumn.|
The wild lands around the Great Central Valley are waking up after a quiet summer, bursting to life with the arrival of millions of migratory birds that rely on the Valley for overwintering habitat. Autumn is just the beginning of the Valley's best season for birding!