Date: January 1, 2020
Place: Cosumnes River Preserve, Galt, California
Coordinates: 38.265874, -121.439240
Length: 1.5 miles
On the first morning of 2020 we checked out of our hotel in Jackson after a few days at the Gold Country with extended family who came to spend the winter break with us. On the last day of 2019 I took most of our family group up to the snow while Pappa Quail and Grandma Quail went separately to check out the nature preserves down in the valley. In the evening when we regrouped Pappa Quail simply announced that on New Year's Day we will be going all of us to two of the birding places he and his mother has been to that day. One of these places would be the Cosumnes River Preserve.
(Most of the photos here were taken on 1/1/2020 but I added a few that Pappa Quail took on his mom and son hike the day before.)
|Our Hike as captured by my GPS|
We circled the parking lot twice before finding space. Then Pappa Quail ushered us promptly to the trailhead, behind the visitor center. There we crossed a slough on a foot bridge. We paused on the bridge to look for birds. I looked down but the water was invisible under a thick layer of vegetation, red for winder.
|The Middle Slough|
On the other side of the bridge we came upon a flooded area. At first glance it looked empty. When we approached however, we spotted a few ducks - northern pintail duck.
|Geese in the Sky|
Pappa Quail wasn't distracted. He hound a vulture too.
A quick motion at the top of one of the oaks was detected and soon Pappa Quail and the elder chika had their cameras trained on that spot, following the action of a downy woodpecker busying about.
|Eastern Fox Squirrels|
|Valley Oaks, Quercus lobata|
|Ruby-crowned Kinglet. 12/31/2019|
Guess what, the busy birders found one right there at the Cosumnes Preserve!
|Geese in flight|
There, higher above as I usually see them, little tree swallows performed fast aerobatics, catching bugs in the air.
|Cosumnes River Preserve|
|Daphnia, copepod, and shrimp|
Most of the vegetation in the flooded area was herbaceous but in one place the boardwalk trail passes between shrubs.
|Orange-crowned Warbler ssp. orestera|
In color of course, the area looks alive and not as if taken from an old landscape photography book.
At the end of the intra-pond trail was a large, rounded observation deck. There were many people standing there, gazing at the water. So did we.
|Cosumnes River Preserve|
|Cinnamon Teal. Photo taken on 12/31/2019|
Come to think of it, it was she who also noticed the unusual couple of a make wood duck and a female mallard way back in 2013 at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve. She has a good eye for these things.
We continued on toward the visitor center. A closed to the public trail extended westward between ponds and on the sign stood a small brown bird - a juvenile American pippit. I called Pappa Quail's attention to this bird, and that was the last bird I paid attention to on this hike.
The first time I visited the Cosumnes River Preserve was when we participated for the second time at the Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival. At that time however, we were brought in with a group by a bus to see the crane fly-in at sundown and didn't hike at all there. This time we were there at broad day light. The only cranes we saw there were up in the sky, but we got to see many other birds on their daily activities and we got educated by the preserve's staff on the local ecology, which is very fascinating. And we had a lovely, easy and beautiful hike that all parts of my family had enjoyed, and gave it a big thumbs up.
At the end of our hike we took a little more time to check out the display at the visitor center and to report our findings before heading off for lunch. It was a wonderful start of the new year.