Residents can plan now for a weekend outing to enjoy the wide variety of wildlife and nature areas, in a series of programs offered through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Ecological Reserve Tours at Elkhorn Slough, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville. Volunteers lead walks every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Binoculars and bird books are available for the public to borrow at no cost. The visitor center and main overlook are fully accessible. The day use permit fee is $4.12 per person, ages 16 and older (permits may be purchased onsite). Groups of five or more should please notify staff that they are coming and groups of 10 or more can request a separate tour. For more information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/places-to-visit/elkhorn-slough-er.
Guided Wetland Tours by reservation are available at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley. A wildlife naturalist will lead any group, school or organization on a half-mile route through the diverse wetlands of the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. General information includes wildlife identification, behavior patterns and conservation efforts. The experience can be customized to include requested information. The minimum group size is 18 people. For more information, call (530) 846-7505 or email email@example.com.
First through third Saturdays and Sundays of the month feature the Sandhill Crane Wetland Tours at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, 7730 W. Woodbridge Road, Lodi. Online registration is available for those wishing to participate in guided tours, which run through February. A one-day Lands Pass must be purchased to attend and instructions are available on the same website. Tours fill fast; to register or for more information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/3/crane-tour.
CDFW will offer free swan tours near Marysville on Saturdays through January. Co-hosted by local rice farmers, the naturalist-led tours will focus on tundra swans in one of the premier locations for viewing swans in California. Tours will be held on Saturdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The driving tours also involve walking a short distance and carpooling is encouraged. Pre-registration is required at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/swan-tours and up to 30 people can register for each tour. For more information, call (916) 358-2869 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guided Wildlife Tours occur every weekend at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley, 12:30 p.m. The 90-minute walking tour covers slightly more than a half mile through this premier birding spot that highlights migratory waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. Tours are canceled in heavy rain. No reservations are necessary for groups of fewer than 20 people. This land is part of the CDFW Lands Pass Program and its associated fee-for-use requirement. For more information on the Lands Pass Program, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/lands-pass. For more information on the tours, call (530) 846-7505 or email email@example.com.