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Tour Schedule For enhanced wildlife viewing opportunities, make sure to visit the festival after your tour is over! Wild animal presentations, guest speakers, demonstrations, exhibits, free youth activities and a variety of food vendors will all be awaiting your return!
ZENOPTIC WETLANDS DAWN PHOTO TOURThere is no better time to experience the vibrant life of the wetlands than at dawn, and no better time to enjoy Sandhill Cranes as theybegin their day with song and dance. Join a small and hearty group led by photographer, Lon (LA) Yarbrough, on this amazing photo tour. As the sun rises, you will experiment with high ISOs, long shutter speeds and wide open apertures to capture images not obtainable at any other time.6:00 am – 8:30 am, tour limited to 12 people, $35 per participant
BIRD WITH THE BEST IN OUR REMOTE RIPARIAN HABITATCome hiking with world renowned birder Dr. John Trochet, Field Ornithologist with U.C. Davis, through some of the most remote riparian areas of the Cosumnes River Preserve. Journey through a portion of the Preserve ordinarily closed to public visitation. You will see many of the jewels of the Preserve; the Tall Forest, the Accidental Forest, and more. With a little luck we should see and hear over 90 species of birds, and a variety of mammals; including deer, raccoon, river otter, beaver, and more.6:30 am – 10:00 am, rain or shine, tour is limited to 15 people, $35 per participant
FAMILY TIME AT THE PRESERVE, NOW THAT’S SOMETHING TO QUACK ABOUT!A wonderful family tour that both adults and children will enjoy! Each family will get a quick and easy bird reference guide as we load the bus! Study the birds in your book on your way out to the Cosumnes River Preserve where you are likely to see many of them up close and personal. When you arrive at “The Barn” samples and scopes will be set up so that you and your family can learn more about what invertebrates are and various things that ducks like to eat! Finish up with a craft and hop back on the bus in time to catch HAWKS, HONKERS AND HOOTS and WILD THINGS, INC at the festival headquarters!10:00 am – 12:00 pm, $10 per adult and kids free
BEHIND THE SCENES AT COSUMNES RIVER PRESERVEYou are not going to want to miss this opportunity! As you make your way out to the Cosumnes River Preserve, an Environmental Specialist from SMUD’s Avian Protection Program will describe the strategies for keeping birds out of the electrical equipment and point out the insulated materials added to its overhead system of poles and lines to keep birds from touching energized equipment. This is a rare opportunity to learn about what is being done to protect our feathered friends. Joining the tour will be Cosumnes River Preserve Manager Harry McQuillen who will take you behind the scenes of the preserve so that you can enjoy a multitude of our winter friends and scope local birds of all sizes, colors, and species.8:00 am – 11:00 am, $15 per participant
THE SECRET OF VERNAL POOLSJoin Dr. Jaymee Marty, who has been studying the management and restoration of grasslands and vernal pools throughout California for over two decades, as she describes the short lives of the plants that will be popping up in and around the vernal pools later in the year. After a short and easy 1.5 mile hike to the Howard Ranch, participants will learn about the geology and soils, as well as other wildlife and plants on the property, the grazing practices on the ranch and more. If the pools are filled with water, you will explore the fascinating aquatic life in the vernal pools, which may include fairy shrimp, diving beetles, clam shrimp, flatworms, water mites and other critters. The weather can be unpredictable in January, so dress in layers, bring rain gear and wear sturdy boots.8:00 am – 11:00 am, $ 15 per participant
BIRD WALK AT THE WINERY!Heritage Oak Winery sits along an expansive stretch of the lower Mokelume River. Because of a long-term commitment to conservation and the habitat, this property includes over 50 acres of wonderful riparian habitat. Begin at the winery, travel through the forest of the floodplain, and to the shores of the Mokelumne River. Expect to see many species of wintering birds. The raptor diversity at this location can be quite high and has included Cooper’s Hawk, Osprey, and Merlin. You will be led by native David Yee, who has been birding in this area for over 35 years! Lunch and wine awaits you at the end of the journey.9:00 am - 1:00 pm, rain or shine, $40 per participant must be 21.
KINGBIRD FARMS: FARMING IN THE WILDVisit Kingbird Farms, a 5-acre inholding on the Cosumnes River Preserve. Kingbird’s small growing operation produces fruits and vegetables for local families and restaurants without using chemicals. Birders will appreciate the astonishing diversity and abundance of birds attracted to Kingbird’s native plants. Owners Mike Eaton and Charity Kenyon will conduct tours of the property, describe how Kingbird came to be and how it functions, and answer questions. Participants will also briefly visit each of Galt’s 2 community food gardens. Lunch will be provided at the farm.1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, (heavy rains will cancel tour but private presentation and lunch at the festival will be provided in lieu of tour, $40 per participant - limited space)
SIP WINE & PAINT BIRDS!Visit historic old-town Galt, Barsetti Vineyards Tasting Room will be your landing spot. Sample a few of the winery’s best offerings and get comfy as your are about to bring out your inner artist! Each participant will be taught step by step by Artist Nancy Quiaoit and before you know it, you will have painted your very own Great Blue Heron. The Great Blue Heron is the 9th Annual Winter Bird Festival’s mascot and you will get to take home your very own canvas keepsake!1:00 pm – 4:00 pm $45.00 per person (limited space)
SUNSET WITH SAVE OUR SANDHILL CRANESSave Our Sandhill Cranes (SOS Cranes) is a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining open-space habitat and the conservation of the California Central Valley’s Sandhill Crane populations through education, outreach, and community activism. Join them for a spectacular evening of education on the majestic sandhill crane and watch as families of cranes fly in to roost for the night.3:30 pm – sunset, $15 per participant
* GUEST FAVORITE!STATEN ISLAND SUNSET TOURJoin Staten Island Conservation Program Manager Laura Shaskey, as she discusses the management practices of Conservation Farm and Ranches. Watch the breathtaking sight of hundreds of cranes flying in to roost for the night. You will learn about the habits of the cranes, why Staten Islands open wetland environment is preferred by these magnificent birds, and what we all can do to preserve their winter home.3:30 pm - sunset, $15 per participant