California’s San Jacinto Wildlife Area

Escape California’s Interstate- 10 traffic and drive to San Jacinto Wildlife Area. As you do, you pass huge dairy farms, dry land wheat farming and agricultural lands. The final mile is down a muddy road to the wildlife area managed by California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife. Nine hundred acres of restored wetlands within the 19,000 acres of wildlife area. It is a great place to look for birds along with other wildlife. We were here to see birds.

We spent more than 5 hours driving and walking the trails within the area. Hundreds and thousands of some waterfowl! Yet then there was also the lone mountain bluebird or a couple of loggerhead shrikes. Various hawks were flying around and while looking into the next pond, more birds. It was nice to see a packed-down dirt trail accessible for handicapped individuals and a couple of blinds for a wheelchair-bound person to have space to maneuver within.

My two new birds for my life list: mountain bluebird and a Nuttall’s woodpecker. Fortunately I able to get a photo of the Nuttall’s woodpecker, see below, which is only found in California.

Nuttall’s woodpecker

I thought I had never seen an American pipit so I was looking for it here. The bird was hopping around near water’s edge in some grasses so I was able to photograph it easily. Then I discovered later in the evening I have actually seen this bird a few years ago…. Oh well, this bird is cute!

American pipit

I’ll include a few more photos from this day. It was a worthwhile visit and if you get a chance to visit here, do so. However, be sure to have a CDFW Land Pass, unless you already have a valid CA hunting or fishing license. We bought our land pass at a Big 5 Sporting Goods store while in Palm Springs. Also, check the wildlife area website for more information since the area is closed certain days for duck hunting.

Bald eagles
American kestrel
Long-billed curlew
White-faced ibis
Northern harrier

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