Research: Salt Slough and Hayes Station

While constant travel inspires a thrill of adventure, it’s always comforting to return to a familiar place. I spent six nights at the Basalt campground in San Luis Reservoir last summer, the highlight being a clumsy family of Great Horned Owls. When I returned, the owl pair was still hooting to one another in the…

Research: Tracy Lake and Carbondale

Birds love water. Grapes love water. Oaks love water. And there was plenty of water here. From the satellite imagery, I’d expected Tracy Lake to be completely dry; another casualty of the 100-year drought that’s held California for the past few summers. But perhaps the rain this last winter is finally breaking the spell. The…

Research: Corral Hollow and Tracy

The blissful vistas at Knight’s Ferry seemed a distant memory as I stood on the shoulder of Corral Hollow Road, the roar of traffic and wind blurring all but the most boisterous of meadowlark songs as they drifted in from the brown, barren grasslands surrounding me. When the historic surveyors visited the mouth of Corral…

Research: Knight’s Ferry

The first site of the summer was more breathtaking than any I visited last year. The small town of Knight’s Ferry sits just within the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, along the steep cliffs carved out by the Stanislaus River. How I would have loved to see such green hills last year. The grass covering…

Research: Central Valley 2016

Follow my travels through the California Central Valley, searching for birds at sites originally surveyed over a century ago.