Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jeff and Dawn touring the Gold Country

Jeff and Dawn at the John Marshall statue

A statue commemorates John Marshall who discovered gold in 1848 at Sutter Mill along the American River. The statue sits prominently on a hill over-looking the town of Coloma and river.

My full-time RV friends from the east coast who I first met in AZ in 2004 were on a swing through the west coast and spent two weeks in Sacramento. The last time I saw them was in the winter of 2007 where we rendezvoused in Morro Bay and traveled to southern AZ together with my late wife - Patti.

This was the first time they visited Sacramento and over a two week period, I played tour guide and showed them many of my favorite places to hike, walk, bird, and dine.

The following entries highlight some of our adventures and outings:

1) Gold Country
2) Consumnes River Preserve
3) Hidden Falls
4) UC Davis
5) Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge
6) Burrowing Owls

Note: Click on pic to enlarge

The American River at Coloma - where gold was discovered in 1848 launching the California Gold Rush

In Amador City, a giant flying goose (above) and ants (below) displayed at artist studio

The main shaft at Kennedy Mines in Jackson

Another view of the shaft building between spokes of water wheel

Jeff checking out the collapsed water wheel

Dawn in front of an upright water wheel.

A series of these giant wheels powered by water were used to transport gravel on a belt to a reservoir.

Consumnes River Wildlife Preserve

A birding outing to Consumnes River Preserve in the south county. Jeff and Dawn and couple other birders scoping out the sandhill cranes

The Fines got a brand new 60x Kowa scope

Neat water plants in the Preserve

Butterfly display at the visitor center

Crossing a bridge connecting pathways through the Preserve

A slimy slough is great habitat for boids

Black neck stilt

We had time to visit the Sandhill Crane Reserve a few miles away where thousands of cranes winter over in the fields

A flock of gawking birders

Two sandhills and ducks

At sunset, silhouettes of flying cranes

Zooming in on his new Kowa

Dawn has the same camera, the Canon SX1 IS, just like mine which can zoom out 20x. A great little point n shoot.

Hidden Falls Hike

The new viewing platform at Hidden Falls

On another day, I take the Fines to Hidden Falls open space near Auburn for a nifty 4 mile hike

Jeff at the viewing platform overlooking Hidden Falls

OK, time for lunch

Hidden Falls viewed from the platform

Looking for boids along creek

Shadow waving at Seven Pools

Another view of upper Seven Pools falls

UC Davis

Robert Mondavi Performing Arts Center

A leisurely walking tour of UC Davis on a brisk day where Patti and I went to college eons ago

Robert Arneson sculpture on campus

Beautiful naked buckeye (above and below)

The new wine school

Neat little garden at wine school

Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

Lanquid pond at Sac National

Dawn, through her birding blog network, and Larry Jordan, an expert birder from Redding, organized a great outing to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, located 90 miles north of Sacramento. Sac National is one of the premier birding refuges in the central valley playing winter home to literally 10s of thousands of migrating fowl. Snow geese and many species of ducks are the predominant birds at the Refuge.

Click on pic for enlargement

The boidin' gang - Jeff, me, Cheryl, Dawn (Kathy in front), Larry, Eric, Scott, and Heather

We meet at the parking lot by the visitor center. While we gather and get ready for the walking tour, we watch literally thousands of snow geese flying overhead.

Neat V-formations of snow geese fly over (above and below)

Click on pic for enlarged views

Quiet ponds on the walking tour

Norther pintails where here by the thousands

Another beautiful pond on the walking tour

There's snow on Snow Mountain. I hiked it last year (see 6/15/08 entry in archives for hike blog entry).

The observation tower at the Refuge. Unfortunately closed to visitors.

Veeery intense viewing searching for the great horned owl. It was well hidden in a willow tree.

You can barely see it with the spotting scope.

Butt Crack Ridge overlooks the Refuge

Snow geese and long-bill dowitchers (in foreground)

Snow geese and Snow Mountain . . . how appropriately named

A couple red-tail hawks

Wheee!! Ducks or mosquitos!!?

Click on pics to enlarge

The great lift-off . . .snow geese by the thousands