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California Locations for Wildlife Photography

September 01, 2017

California is a big state, so I usually just shoot close to home (Placerville) in the Sierra foothills, or in the valley around Sacramento. There are quite a few National Wildlife Refuges on the I-5 corridor around Sacramento to explore. Some of my favorite California spots are:

BAY AREA

- Point Reyes National Seashore, Point Reyes Station, (Peregrine Falcons, raptors, Bobcats, Coyotes, Tule Elk) MARIN COUNTY

SACRAMENTO VALLEY

- Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, Colusa. Viewing platform and auto loop. (fall: waterfowl/Snow & Ross's Geese) COLUSA COUNTY

- Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, Sacramento (waterfowl / wading birds) YOLO COUNTY

- Mather Regional Park, Rancho Cordova (White-tailed Kites, birds of prey) SACRAMENTO COUNTY

- Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, Lodi (fall: Sandhill Crane migration) SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY

GOLD COUNTRY

- Marshall Gold Discovery State Park, Coloma (Acorn Woodpeckers) EL DORADO COUNTY

SIERRA NEVADAS

- Taylor Creek Visitor Center, South Lake Tahoe(White-headed Woodpecker, high-elevation birds) EL DORADO COUNTY

- South Tufa Area, Mono Lake (nesting Violet-green Swallows, Loggerhead Shrike) MONO COUNTY

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY / CENTRAL VALLEY

- Kern NWR, near Bakersfield, very isolated area, nice auto loop (spring: White-faced Ibis, American Avocet, other wading birds, waterfowl, nesting swallows) **mosquito repellent essential at dusk/dawn KERN COUNTY

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

- Los Angeles County Arboretum, Arcadia (Allen's hummingbirds in the flower beds), Western Bluebirds, other songbirds, warblers LA COUNTY

- Bolsa Chica Wetlands, Huntington Beach (egrets, herons, terns, waterfowl, pelicans) ORANGE COUNTY

- Huntington Central Park, Huntington Beach (good variety of species, waterfowl, Great-horned Owls, Allen's Hummingbirds in secret garden, Western Bluebirds) ORANGE COUNTY

- San Joaquin Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary, Irvine (good variety: waterfowl, wading birds, spring migrants, warblers, hummingbirds) ORANGE COUNTY

DESERT

- Agua Caliente Indian Canyons, Palm Springs (rattlesnakes, Costa's Hummingbirds, Cactus Wren, Hooded Oriole, warblers, songbirds, White-throated Swifts) RIVERSIDE COUNTY

 

California Regions Map California NWRs