This past spring I decided to visit Arcata California a week after their annual Godwit Festival in April since I could not make the sanctuary festival.. The Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the City of Arcata’s innovative wastewater treatment facility. The sanctuary is 307 acres, including freshwater marshes, salt marsh, tidal sloughs, grassy uplands, mudflats, brackish marsh, approximately 5 miles of walking and biking paths and an Interpretive Center. Located at the north end of Humboldt Bay, the sanctuary is situated along the Pacific Flyway, a major migratory route for thousands of birds that breed in the far north and winter in California, Mexico and Central and South America. The Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary is touted as the highest bird populated coastal site between Bodega Harbor and Washington. While I had visions of masses of migrating birds the reality was somewhat more quiet. I did find a collection of Godwits, and some local ducks, egrets and shorebirds.
Since I visited Denver recently to visit my mother, I decided to indulge in a bit of winter birding to get her out of the house. Although many people like to look for birds in the summer, when the weather is nice, winter allows you a unique opportunity to actually see the birds without the cover of leaves. As winter snows fall many mountain dwelling species of birds will come down into the valleys and even into cities in the winter. Moreover, species from north of the US/Canada border fly down into the areas where winter is milder, even to Denver as it turns out. The purpose of this post is not to be inclusive, just the the birds I found in a few favorite places. I grew up in Colorado and learned about nature from my late father who was an avid outdoorsman. He would have enjoyed getting out and viewing the birds on display in the nearby parks.