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Online registration for the tours will open on November 12, 2014. Click on the "E" below to sign up on Eventbrite.  Please call 209-366-7115 if you need additional information or assistance.  We are making every effort to create a registration system that is user friendly!! 


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!

6:00am - 8:30am   ZenOptic Wetlands Dawn Photo Tour
6:30am - 10am   Bird With the Best in our Remote Riparian Habitat 
6:00am - 9:30am   Cosumnes River Preserve Photo Tour – Sponsored by CANON
8:00am - 11:00am   Organic Farming and Waterfowl Unite!
8:00 am - 11:00am   Introduction to Birding - CANCELLED
8:45am - 11:00am  Wildlife Sketching & Watercolor Field Trip - CANCELLED
10:00 am - 2 pm   REI Paddle Tour Through CRP Waterways - CANCELLED
10:00am - 2:00 pm   Bird Walk at the Winery - Heritage Oak Winery
3:30 pm -    Sunset with the Cranes, Sponsored by CANON 
2:30 pm -   Creating Images with Paul Bannick

Special Tour on Sunday, February 8, 2015
8:00am - 11:00am  Start Your Day with Sandhill Cranes & More!

ZenOptic Wetlands Dawn PhotO TOurwith Lon Yarbrough
There is no better time to experience the vibrant life of the wetlands than at dawn. And, no better time to enjoy Sandhill Cranes as they begin their day with song and dance. Join a small and hearty group led by ac 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. Detail and techniques are available at Participants will be notified of the location a few days before the shoot by phone or e-mail.
6:00 - 8:30am, tour is limited to 12 people, $35 per participant
*Note: Dress in layers.

Bird with the Best in our Remote Riparian Habitat
Come hiking with world renowned birder John Trochet, through some of the most remote riparian areas of the Cosumnes River Preserve. Dr. John Trochet, Field Ornithologist with U.C. Davis, will lead you on a 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, a flood-created cottonwood-willow grove, River Walk and if time allows, the Wetlands Walk. Locations may be adjusted due to flooding; rubber knee high boots will be required footwear!With alittle 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 - 10:00am, rain or shine, tour is limited to 15 people, $35 per participant
*Note: Dress in layers. Please know that the Tall Forest and vicinity lack restroom facilities.

Take a photo tour at the Cougar Wetlands Unit, a closed area of the Preserve nestled along the Cosumnes River. These wetlands provide food and rest for thousands of birds that make the Central Valley home during the winter months. The tour begins at sunrise with the opportunity to photograph migratory waterfowl and shorebirds as well as a variety of wetland habitats during the soft glow of the misty morning. We will wander among the wetlands increasing our chances of catching a glimpse of the secretive bitter or get and overhand shot of morning flights of Sandhill Cranes leaving their overnight roosts as time allows. We will search for coyote, wild turkey, deer, birds of prey and other animals along the journey. Canon and their representatives will be on hand with some amazing cameras for you to photograph with. We could be walking upwards of a mile in wet conditions so please come prepared! You won't want to miss this one!
6:00 - 9:30am, tour is limited to 12 people, $35 per participant
* Note: Walk is in wet conditions so please come prepared with rubber boots, rain gear, camera, and all other essential equipment for this trek.

Organic Farming and Waterfowl Unite!
Cosumnes River Preserve's Manager provides you the opportunity to explore behind locked gates, into the Preserve’s extensive organic rice farming operation. This tour will show you how organic farming practices provide great benefits to the migratory waterfowl wintering on the Preserve land. Be ready to experience a multitude of our winter friends and local birds of all sizes, colors, and species. This is a true birding experience! A good set of all-weather shoes or boots, rain gear, quality optics and cameras may all come in handy. Don't miss this as this might be one of the only chances to ever see the road less traveled at the Cosumnes River Preserve.
8:00am - 11:00pm, rain or shine, $15 per participant
* Note: A long walk, a muddy trail, some clouds, rain, wind, or fog might all be in order for this tour so please come prepared.

Birding is one of the most unique and easy outdoor recreation activities you can share with others; adults and children alike. What is the appeal? Come find out! Formerly known as bird watching, it is so much more than that! Birds appeal to your sense of aesthetics, they dazzle the eye, present complex and intriguing behavior and are evocative to the ear. Imagine a hundreds birds dabbling in the water, calling to each other, and lift off at the same time. Birds begin their day early and so should you! Come enjoy the sight, sounds and action of our Pacific Flyway friends on the Cosumnes River Preserve wetlands and answer the question, "What is that bird doing?"
8:00am - 11:00pm, rain or shine, $15 per participant. Open to all ages!

R.E.I Paddle Tour Through CRP Waterways - click here to register
Join kayaking experts from R.E.I.’s Outdoor School and paddle the calm waters of the Middle Slough at Cosumnes River Preserve. Be on the lookout for wood ducks, green and black-crowned heron, a variety of warblers, mallards and boisterous scrub jays. You will see the many native plants that create the perfect environment to attract these species with button bush and arroyo willows lining the waterways. All kayaking equipment will be provided by R.E.I, including PFDs. This is a non-instructional tour and some kayaking experience is suggested. Don't miss a peaceful day on the water!
10:00am - 2:00pm, rain or shine, $65 per participant
* Note: Although unlikely, always dress to get wet, including protecting your personal electronic devices.

Heritage Oak Winery is owned by the Hoffman family and sits along an expansive stretch of the lower Mokelume River. Because of the long-term commitment to conservation and habitat preservation by the Hoffman Family, their property includes over 50 acres of wonderful riparian habitat, mature stands of Valley Oak/Cottonwood Forest and recently restored willow lined meadows. This field trip begins at the winery. You will embark on an easy mile hike, past vineyards, through the forest of the floodplain, and to the shores of the Mokelumne River . Expect to see many species of wintering sparrows, and warblers, berry and insect eaters including Hermit Thrush, Kinglet, Bluebird, Hutton's Vireo and Cedar Waxwing. The raptor diversity at this location can be quite high and has included Cooper's Hawk, Osprey, and Merlin. You will be lead by native David Yee, who has been birding in this area for over 35 years! An Authority of the birds of San Joaquin County, David has authored the Bird Checklist of San Joaquin County. Lunch and wine awaits you at the end of the journey.
10:00am - 2:00pm, rain or shine, $40 per participant must be 21.

At 8:45 a.m., board the field trip bus at festival headquarters The bus ride will take us seven miles due west on Twin Cities Road to Cosumnes River Preserve. We'll see if we can make it down to around eighty bottles, singing "A Hundred Bottles of Milk on the Wall". We will have 25 pencil & watercolor " hobo style" field trip kits and postcard watercolor papers for all interested to participate.  Enjoy your hike on the boardwalk paths through the tules (pronounced tullies). You'll think you are in the wilds with all different species of birds and beautiful, peaceful natural scenery all around you. I'll be stopping at two scenic spots on the hike to give several short sketching & watercolor demos. Participants will then be encouraged to make their own field sketches and watercolor postcards. First-timer artists are encouraged! Our goal is to have fun sketching among supportive friends and to connect with nature. All ages welcome. Families encouraged! Snack provided. Restrooms are at the parking lot.   Bring your camera, too
* Note: You may want to bring
a lightweight fold-up camping chair to sit on if you prefer!
8:45 am - 11:00 am Adults $7 - 18 and under free if accompanied by an adult.

Millions of waterfowl migrate along the Pacific Flyway. Of those traveling, thousands of Sandhill Cranes call the Cosumnes River Preserve their home during the winter months. Here on our very own Staten Island, few words can describe the breathtaking sight of a thousand cranes flying in to roost for the night. Bring your camera. This Sunset Tour is your opportunity to experience, first hand, the Cranes at sunset! You will learn about the habits of the cranes, why our open wetland environment is preferred by these magnificent birds, and what we can do to preserve their winter home.
3:30 - sunset, $15 per participant

With many years of instruction experience, Paul conducts this walking tour and will teach you how to photograph wildlife, particularly birds, in the field. Paul will help you capture photos that you imagine in your mind, discussing an extensive list of photographic tips including how to find and approach your subject, looking at depth of field, shutter speed, the use of flash, and even the selection of equipment, Paul will take your photographic skills to the next level.
2:30 pm   $50 - this tour is limited to 15 people
* Note: Some familiarity with you camera is required. All participants are asked to bring their camera and tripod.

Join local Save our Sandhill Cranes (SOS) docents Sean Wirth and Mike Savino at the Galt Comfort Inn and Suites to begin this very special morning tour. You will be introduced to the sounds of the cranes as they begin their activities for the day. You will hear the adults alerting their young, see the unique behaviors of these large and personable birds. Enjoy a continental breakfast while you learn the life history of “our" cranes, and why they come to the California Delta every winter. After returning to the Comfort Inn and Suites you will be treated to a great video with all of the different crane behaviors on the screen, reinforcing what you have seen in the field. This is a very comprehensive program which will truly help even the novice further understand and appreciate these amazing birds.

8:00 - 11:00 am, $15 per participant. Park and meet at the Galt Comfort Inn and Suites, 10380 Twin Cities Road, Galt.









Last updated: 9/25/2015 9:44:30 AM