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San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge
January 11, 2020 @ 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Ruthie Rudesill of Redwood Regional Ornithological Society fame will lead this trip as a follow up to her presentation at our Speaker Series on January 9 entitled “Little Known Great Birding Locations in Northern California.” The San Joaquin River NWR is situated where three major rivers (Tuolumne, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin) join in the San Joaquin Valley, creating a mix of habitats that provide ideal conditions for high wildlife and plant diversity.
The refuge was initially established primarily to protect and manage habitat for the Aleutian Cackling Goose but now provides important nesting habitat for Swainson’s Hawks, herons, cormorants, as well as the endangered least Bell’s Vireo, which was absent from the area for five decades. The refuge is also home to the largest wild population of Riparian Brush Rabbits in the world that approached extinction in the 1990’s.
Bring optics (scopes would be useful), lunch, and dress in layers. There is a restroom at the refuge headquarters. No fees are collected here. Heavy rain cancels.
This field trip is co-sponsored by RROS and Marin Audubon. Sonoma County folks who wish to carpool can meet at the Petaluma Park N’ Ride at the junction of Highways 101 and 116 at 7:15 AM. These Sonoma participants will meet up with Marinites who wish to join a carpool at the Smith Ranch Road and Highway 101 Park N’ Ride at 7:35 AM. For more information about this trip, contact Ruthie at (707) 833-6026 or (707) 481-0768.
Directions: From Highway 580 southbound after Altamont Pass, take the Maze Blvd Exit onto Highway 132 (east towards Modesto). The NWR is at the San Joaquin River. Turn left on North Gates Road from Highway 132. Travel northbound on Gates Road for approximately 3 miles. Turn left on Beckwith Road. Travel westbound on Beckwith Road for 2 miles to the refuge parking lot on the left side of the road. Our first stop will be at the Migratory Bird Viewing Platform on Beckwith Road. Later we will return to Highway 132 and travel to the refuge headquarters at 2714 Dairy Road, Vernalis.