The annual migration of millions of birds from Alaska to South America is underway, and the Sacramento Valley will be the place for some prime viewing through January.
One of those places to check out a variety of migratory birds is the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. The Yolo Basin Foundation is holding a free, guided tour of the wildlife area on Saturday, October 13 from 9 a.m. to noon. Docents will help visitors identify wildlife and provide information about the wildlife area.
Other refuges providing rest areas along the Pacific Flyway, and therefore impressive viewing spots, are the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area and the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge.
October is a good month for birding in valley wildlife areas. Millions of waterfowl, geese and ducks travel roughly the same route every year. The recent harvesting of rice provides abundant feeding opportunities for seed, grain and insect-eaters, according to the Yolo Basin Foundation. Red-winged blackbirds flock to these newly exposed crop fields and can be seen perched high on cattails and along the tops of trees, filling wetlands with a large range of distinct, metallic calls which fill the wetlands.
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Participants in the Yolo Bypass tour are advised to to bring binoculars and water. Docents will have spotting scopes to enhance wildlife viewing. It’s a driving tour on gravel roads with several stops and optional, short walks.
Directions and more information on the Yolo Bypass tour can be found at www.yolobasin.org.