Sunday morning finds us at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. In 2011 Mark and I volunteered at Santa Ana for 3 months. We led bird walks 3 mornings a week, watered and weeded the butterfly garden, and planted many trees and shrubs.
There is a large visitor center with a well-stocked friends store. After passing the visitor center and a bird feeding station it’s a short walk to the levee and into the largest part of the refuge.
If you've heard of the border wall,
this is where it is proposed to be built.
Santa Ana NWR was established in 1943 for the protection of migratory birds. It happens to be positioned along an east-west and north-south juncture of two major migratory routes for many species of birds. It is also at the northern-most point for many species whose range extends south into Central and South America. It is 2,088 acres.
The refuge boasts more than 14 miles of trails.
There is lots of beautiful Spanish Moss in the trees:
When we were there in 2011 there had been a lot of flooding in the area and all the lakes were full to overflowing. We were saddened to see the refuge now. Most of the lakes have no water at all.
From the amount of grass, this birding "hot spot"
has not had water for quite some time.
There were very few water birds.
We saw several Golden-fronted Woodpeckers in numerous dead trees:
We did see a few birds:
One of my favorite is the Green Jay. In 2011 there were lots of these loud, squawking pushy Jays. This day we had to look for a very long time to finally find one.
Great Blue Heron
Black-bellied Whistling Duck
Northern Rough-winged Swallow