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Wildlife Photo Shoot at Sacramento/Colusa National Wildlife Refuges

December is a great time of year to visit the wildlife refuges.  We will meet at the southwest corner of the Mt. Shasta Mall parking lot (corner of Dana Dr. & Hilltop Dr.) at 5:30 a.m. and leave no later than 5:45 a.m.  We will carpool/caravan to the Sacramento Refuge. This early-morning departure mean's we'll get to the refuge just after sunrise. The wildlife is most active in the first few hours of the day although there will be plenty of geese & ducks all day long.  If time permits and there's interest, we can head down to the Colusa refuge.  Colusa has a great viewing platform where you can get some excellent close-ups in the middle of the day.

Bring the longest lens you have, 200mm at the very least. 400mm or greater is preferred. If you don't have a long lens or a camera with the ability to zoom in, you might want to consider renting one from places like  You can rent a Tamron[masked] for $50 for 3 days. You can still get some nice photos of the shear number of birds using a wider-angle lens.  Also bring food and water, binoculars and a bird id book if you have one. Bathrooms are available at both refuges although the heated restrooms at entrance to the Sacramento refuge won't be open until 9:00 a.m.  

The Sacramento refuge has a $6 entrance fee. The Colusa refuge is free. The Sacramento refuge has a 6-mile auto tour loop and a 2-mile wetland walking trail. The Colusa refuge has a 3 miles auto tour and a 1-mile walking trail. You must stay in your vehicle at all times except at designated areas like observation platforms and walking trails.
Rain or heavy clouds will cancel this meetup.  Predictions of dense fog may delay the start time.

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  • Ron L.

    Great day. Only issue was being on the wrong side of the car at times.

    1 · 3 days ago

    • Pat C.

      We'll have to see about training the birds better for next time.

      1 · 3 days ago

    • Debbie R.

      Yes! I was getting so frustrated being on the wrong side of the car! But then the vultures and heron were on my side so I was happier! It was a lovely day and we are enjoying seeing everyone's pictures. Thanks so much for your work in organizing things for this group. We are so glad we joined.

      3 days ago

  • Steve R.

    Great company and opportunities!

    1 · 3 days ago

  • Pat C.

    Thanks to everyone for posting your images of Saturday's shoot. What a beautiful (although chilly) day with tons of birds.

    1 · 3 days ago

  • lisa t.

    awesome day!! sun and birds were great

    1 · 4 days ago

  • Pat C.

    Hi there everyone. Tomorrow looks like a great day to be at the refuges. Be sure to bring a lunch, water & snacks. Also binoculars and bird guides if you have them. See you at 5:30 a.m.!

    1 · 6 days ago

  • Tod B.

    I will be coming from the south so will look for you at the Sacramento Wildlife Refuge

    6 days ago

    • Pat C.

      Okay Tod. We should get there around 7:30ish.

      6 days ago

  • John C.

    Thanks, I will also bring my golden pass.

    2 · December 1

  • Penelope T.

    I thought you might like to know that because they are National refuge areas, if you have a National Park golden pass, that works in these locations in leiu of the 6.00 fee. Both locations are great for photos. The Sacramento Refuge also has a small museum, and are helpful in identifying birds.

    1 · November 30

    • Pat C.

      Thanks Penelope. I have a golden pass & did not know that!

      November 30

    • Ron L.

      I'll bring mine too

      1 · November 30

  • Pat C.

    Looks like we've got a good group signed up for this meetup. I stopped by the refuge on Sunday. All ponds are full and there are plenty of birds. Now if the weather will just cooperate. If fog is in the forecast along I-5, we may meet later than 5:30 a.m. I'll post any changes on Thursday or Friday, Dec. 1st or 2nd. Stay tuned.

    November 23

  • Pat C.

    I visited the Sacramento & Colusa refuges yesterday. Lots of birds and plenty of water. I'm sure hoping the weather cooperates for us.

    November 15

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