Saturday, we drove up to the Lodi, CA, area, about 60+ miles from home to see the . Rick had read Carolyn Jones's article in the SF Chron last week about these wonderful birds.
We took the scenic route: 680 north to Hwy 4. We took CA - 160 across the Delta to CA - 12. We waved to Christine at Winnowings on her island out there. On our route we saw lots of birds, including raptors, egrets, and probably swans.
It was a cold, clear day and lots of other people read the article, too, and joined us at the windy Phil and Marilyn Isenberg Sandhill Crane Reserve which is actually on Woodbridge Road, north of Lodi. Because of the huge turnout, there was no organized tour but two volunteers and one person from the Department of Fish and Game were there with lots of info. California budget cuts to F&G prevent the department from taking tour reservations.
The "birders" all shared info at the Reserve South Unit meeting area on Woodbridge Road. We did not go to the North Site for the fly-in at sunset but we poked around nearby county roads adjacent to farmlands until after sunset and saw squadrons of birds stitched against the darkening sky.
This was our first trip to see these marvelous birds but I'm sure it won't be our last. Good binoculars are on my wish list.
has pictures and some audio clips of the cranes' vocalizations.
Greater Sandhill Cranes are a protected species in California. Lesser Sandhill Cranes are also seen in this area.
Check out many amazing at Bill Schmoker's sandhill crane page.
If you go, good maps are a must. Google maps provide good detail. We saw many birds on Cotta Road and Guard Road farms.