Tuesday, March 18, 2014

San Luis NWR

California has been suffering from severe drought this year. When I spent a couple of weeks in the southern Bay region it was a topic every morning on the local news. Lucky for them, it did finally rain over the weekend that I was there. That made some small changes to my plans. I had heard a lot about the shorebirds and waterfowl that winter in the Central Valley. I had two locations as options for my weekend get away. The weather forecast was for several inches of rain to the north and only about an inch to the south. So I headed south to the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge complex. And then luck for me, the rain dropped off around noon on Saturday and stayed away for the rest of the weekend.

Here are a few of the shots from San Luis Refuge.

Although some of the ponds were rather dry due to the drought, these Northern Shovlers were abundant. These two were flushed by a passing Northern Harrier (also very abundant).

San Luis is a wintering spot for Sandhill Cranes. I came across this group of about 25 birds feeding in the grain fields. There were a lot of little battles between birds. Not sure if they were setting a pecking order or fighting over food.
There was a small pond near the entrance to San Luis that in the morning had a few Black-necked Stilts, like this one, and a Greater Yellowlegs.

These resting black-necked Stilts were out in a larger pond. They are so peaceful here.


  1. Great Black-necked Stilts Photos :)

  2. the stilts are one of my favorite birds. Love to see them.

  3. Beautiful photos. I love the last one.

  4. Beautiful photographs Bryan! I am especially fond of the Sandhill Crane action shot. San Luis NWR is a great location, one of the excellent National Wildlife Refuges the Wildlife Conservation Stamp Project is trying to increase funding for.

  5. The two stilts picture is beautiful, thanks for sharing.

  6. Great photos! After seeing the Black-necked Stilts for the first time recently, they are a current favorite of mine.

  7. I saw both the shoveler and the stilts in AZ - but no shots of the shoveler.

    I love to see the cranes. Great pictures.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne