I took another trip to George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary at the end of October. A friend drove a bunch of us down, and on the way we passed by farms blanketed with newly arrived snow geese.
As expected, we saw a lot of mallard ducks at the sanctuary. North American pintails, widgeons, shovelers, and great blue herons too. We also managed to see a pair of hooded mergansers, which was kind of exciting—but not as exciting as seeing a belted kingfisher like we did last year.
I wish I could have taken better pictures of the birds, but I only had my phone camera and a limited zoom function.
I did try to zoom in once though. In the distance, in the photograph below, you can see some sandhill cranes. We didn’t see any babies this visit as you need to go a bit earlier in the year, but the cranes were very cool to see anyway.
The last time I saw sandhill cranes I was six or seven. A few had stopped by the lookout tower in the sanctuary, and so we went up close and tossed them some birdseed my grandmother had purchased at the entryway. It was absolutely terrifying, because the cranes were taller than me at the time. Now, fifteen years later, I’m a comfortable 5’8” and would have liked to see them up close to see how we compared. Maybe next year?
We then spent the rest of our time walking the circumference of the sanctuary, feeding blackbirds (pictured above) and chickadees, climbing the lookout tower for a gorgeous view, and keeping our eyes peeled for our favourite birds. I looked for owls, because we’ve met people in the sanctuary who have seen then, but like every visit so far I didn’t have any luck.
As always, I highly encourage a visit to Reifel Bird Sanctuary. Even if you’re indifferent about the birds, it’s a beautiful natural space to walk around that’s always calming, even on the chilliest of days.