Monday, June 26, 2017

The Sheepy Ridge Wildlife Trail

(Or as I could have titled this post: Way Up Here)

When I say birding is an adventure, I mean birding is an Adventure with a capital A. Ready to go on one with me?

Okay, here we go...

Even though we've been to the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Complex a few times before, we've never walked the Sheepy Ridge Wildlife Trail that is directly behind the visitor center. This time we did.

Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges California birding hotspot

Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges California birding hotspot

The brochure describes the trail as "a very steep, 0-3-mile foot trail near the visitor center at Tule Lake Refuge" that "provides a spectacular view of the surrounding area from 150 feet above the basin." (Keep in mind that I didn't read the brochure before we started on the hike and thought a 0.3 mile trail sounded like a walk in the park.)


Looking up at the cliff from the trailhead you can see a little building at the very top on the left...


And there's the moon making an appearance too!


As we were trudging up the trail (hey, what happened to that walk in the park?), my hubby points out the building and says to me "I hope that's not where this trail is taking us." I stopped in my tracks, looked up (my eyes were on my feet because the trail was so steep that I was afraid to lose my footing and fall to my untimely death), and laughed between big panting breaths of air. "There's no way the trail is taking us all the way up there," I replied confidently.


Sure enough, the trail veered left and that's exactly where it was leading us. Meanwhile, I'm thinking to myself that this is some dilapidated old shack and why would anyone build a trail to it.


With my calves on fire and my hubby's fear of heights kicking into full gear, we trekked on. There was no way these birders were going to turn back now!


Did I mention that this trail is on the side of a cliff? Yep, here's looking back at the trail after I hugged my way around the rocks to get by...


*I think it's worth noting that Adventure to us means cruising new-to-us backroads to look for birds and following a sighting tip and going to a town we've never been to to see a South American bird that went waaay off course and somehow ended up in Northern California. (Read more about that particular adventure here.)


Okay, back to Sheepy Ridge. By this point, my calves are on fire and I can't believe I'm clinging to the side of a cliff. What's that up ahead? Oh, it's the shack we'd joked about!


We've reached our destination and now we've got one heck of a story to talk about for the next twenty years or so.


They weren't kidding when they said this trail has a spectacular view!


There's the parking lot for the Discovery Marsh Trail there at the bottom... 


And here's the view to the right. In the distance you can see the water of the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge...


Yay! I made it to the top!

Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges California birding hotspot

Sometimes--okay most of the time, it pays off to keep climbing that hill even when you're not sure what lies at the top. Because it might just be a stunning view that leaves you breathless--not because you just climbed 150 feet up a cliff, but because it's so incredibly beautiful.

Driving away from the refuge, laughing about how we couldn't believe what we'd just done, I looked back at the cliff and had to have hubby stop the car so I could take a picture so you could see just how freaking high up it is.


Until we meet again, Sheepy Ridge. Until we meet again. (Oh yeah, I'm definitely climbing that mountain again next time!)


To read more about my visits to the Klamath NWR, visit my birding blog Wings and Daydreams!


Monday, June 19, 2017

Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge

The Space Between...

The town of Tulelake doesn't have a space between Tule and Lake, but on the website (and brochure) for the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge, there is one. Huh.

Either way, the landscape there is stunning and the birds are plentiful! Who cares how they choose to spell it!

Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge California






The auto tour was extremely "buggy" when we drove through. The bugs even showed up in the photo below...


No matter how many bald eagles you've seen in your lifetime, each one looks more majestic than the next...

Bald Eagle

On the ten-mile auto tour at the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge, there is plenty to see!


Beautiful views around every corner...






For more pics of the beautiful birds we saw, visit my birding blog Wings and Daydreams!


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Ten Mile Beach - Fort Bragg, CA

Ten Mile Beach

Ten Mile Beach Fort Bragg California

Semipalmated Plover

These birds sure have a gorgeous playground, don't they?





I could have watched these Dunlin play chicken with the waves all day!


Ten Mile Beach Fort Bragg California

Ten Mile Beach Fort Bragg California

Ruddy Turnstone

And that wraps up our trip to the coast. Already can't wait to go back!



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

MacKerricher State Park

Today our adventures at the coast continue with a visit to MacKerricher State Park!


Lake Cleone...

MacKerricher State Park Fort Bragg California

And here's the Main Beach:




MacKerricher State Park

Today our adventures at the coast continue with some more beach birds!


As we were leaving the Mendocino Headlands State Park, we just happened to see this beautiful Great Blue Heron in someone's front yard.

MacKerricher State Park Fort Bragg California

It must be amazing to be able to see this kind of wildlife right out your front door!

MacKerricher State Park Fort Bragg California

Okay, now off to MacKerricher State Park.

We saw this group of Cormorants hanging out at Lake Cleone...

MacKerricher State Park Fort Bragg California

The lake advertises herons, but we didn't see any there!


MacKerricher State Park Fort Bragg California

And here's the Main Beach:


Stay tuned tomorrow for some cute little shorebirds!