Place: Lodi Lake Park, 1101 W Turner Rd, Lodi, California
Coordinates: 38.146866, -121.292902
Length: 1.8 miles
Difficulty: very easy
Four years ago I discovered the Lodi Sanhill Crane Festival after it had passed. A year later I made sure I attended with my family. Last year was our third year in a row of attending this wonderful event. From our choice tours of the 2014 festival I chose to post about the morning hike we had with naturalists David Lukas and Yosemite Jade who led the Walk on the Wild Side tour at the Lodi Lake Park.
|Our trail (labeled green) in Lodi Lake Park as captured by Papa Quail's GPS.|
In the flat delta lands the Mokelumne water slowly flows through meandering canals and dead-end ponds and also stops to rest at the Lodi Lake. This area, bordered by farmland from the north and by the city from all other directions is set aside as park for human recreation but also as wilderness area for the wildlife.
It is by the entrance to the park, shortly after sunrise, that we gathered with the tour's leader, naturalist David Lukas, to go together and look at the wild side of Mokelumne.
|Early morning reflection, Lodi Lake|
We joined the group that gathered around the tour leader and headed into the park and straight into the woods.
The first group of trees after passing the gate is a grove of young redwoods, obviously planted. Soon though, the trees change into a dark oak forest with very little undergrowth and many little brown birds, mostly juncos and towhees, hopping to and fro in the dry leaves. Every few steps the group stopped to look for birds and listen to the naturalist. This gave me enough time to catch up, but as soon as I was with the group - they took off again.
|Early morning sun permeating the Woods|
|Mule Deer, male|
That left me to pay attention to my surrounding and notice things, like the California wild grape that covered so many trees along the river canal.
|California Wild Grape (Vitis californica)|
Elder chika meandered along the water then she came back to the group all excited - she had spotted a male wood duck! Papa Quail and others from the group had followed her to the sighting place and made it back just in time as the tour leader was rounding us to go back.
|Wood Duck, male|
David Lukas, our tour guide, is very knowledgeable and shared with us some very interesting facts about birds I though I knew already. There is always more knowledge to gain and the Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival is an excellent place to learn more about California's birds.
|Reflection on the Mokelumne River|
The website of David Lukas
The website of Yosemite Jade
The website of the Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival