Battle Creek Wildlife Area

by Larry on November 28, 2009

Great Egret in Flight photos by Larry Jordan

I recently discovered a great birding location within 30 minutes of my home at Battle Creek Wildlife Area where, according to their species list, I observed thirty of their 138 bird species seen on that property.

California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) has an abundance of Wildlife Areas and manages 711 properties throughout the state comprising over a million acres!  In the northern Region alone there are 30 Wildlife Areas designated.

I got off work a bit early mid week, last week and drove down to the Mouth of Cottonwood Creek and Reading Island, to see what I could find.

There were several Lewis’s Woodpeckers engaged in their usual activity of flying from the tops of the oak trees in a circular pattern, then back to the tree, hawking insects.  There were also Acorn Woodpeckers and Nuttall’s Woodpeckers in the area.

As I was standing silently below a granary tree a rather large Black-tailed Deer buck walked slowly toward me, then moseyed away to feed elsewhere.

I really wanted to get to Battle Creek Wildlife Area before it got too late, so…

I took the short, ten mile drive to check it out.  They have a nice kiosk there showing the different species available for viewing during different seasons, as well as an informational board on the history of the California Wetlands that have diminished over the years and are being restored.

I was visiting the area in the hope of photographing some Wood Ducks, having been told it is a good place to view them.  There were quite a few ducks in the ponds next to the parking area, as well as the Great Egret, but no Wood Ducks.

As I hiked the trail, over the creek and along the creek bed, I did notice several wood duck nest boxes.  Of course I scared up a pair of Wood Ducks that took off so fast, I didn’t even get a chance to get my bins up, much less my camera.  Typical of my Wood Duck photo endeavors.  I did however, come across this beautiful female Northern Flicker

and then a large group of Turkey Vultures soaking up the late sunlight as they watched me stroll beneath them on the trail.

Battle Creek meanders through the 582 acre wildlife area with beautiful views of riparian, marsh and oak woodland habitat.

I will return when I have more time to explore this great resource.  In the meantime, go and explore the other fantastic bird photos at Bird Photography Weekly.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole November 28, 2009 at 11:17 pm

I was going to say that I envy you for your Great Egret in flight shot.
But boy, I do envy you for that birding location in general :D!
Lovely finds and Photos!
.-= Nicole´s last blog ..Great Cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo, Kormoran =-.

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Madah November 28, 2009 at 11:53 pm

Great shot of the egret in flight!

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Eileen November 29, 2009 at 2:23 am

It is great to have such a great birding area close to home. The Battle Creek Wildlife area loks like it was a great place. Your photos are wonderful especially the Egret.
.-= Eileen´s last blog ..Egret tree =-.

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chris November 29, 2009 at 10:42 am

Hi Larry,
What a post! Full of gorgeous shot, but I’ve to say I’ve two favorite over here, the northern flicker and the turkey vulture. These two are fantastic bird that you got very well!
.-= chris´s last blog ..Here we are! =-.

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Wren November 29, 2009 at 10:49 am

For a moment, I thought you’d been near us, in Battle Creek, Michigan. While that would have been fun, it looks like you had a great day in California – love the egret photo.
.-= Wren´s last blog ..Plumed Whistling Duck at the Australia Zoo (Bird Photography Weekly) =-.

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bob k November 29, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Excellent photographs (the egret is a killer shot!) and informative blog as always, Larry!
.-= bob k´s last blog ..Godwit us …and everything just falls into place =-.

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Mick November 29, 2009 at 8:51 pm

It looks like a beautiful area and certainly worth another visit. Great bird photos. I especially like the Flicker.
.-= Mick´s last blog ..Brush-turkey =-.

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Neil November 29, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Great photos and good to see that the wetlands are going to be restored
.-= Neil´s last blog ..Little Corella =-.

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Jill November 30, 2009 at 10:04 am

Hi Larry, thanks for checking out my site! Great shot of the GREG in flight! We’ll have to check out Battle Creek next time we’re around that area, probably in the spring. Thanks for sharing!

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Amy November 30, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Oh, what a wonderful discovery! It’s great to find new birding or wildlife watching spots, isn’t it?
.-= Amy´s last blog ..Random Merritt Island NWR & Canaveral NS =-.

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Scott November 30, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Excellent as usual Larry. And you are my official birding/wildlife scout as you have a knack for the perfect spots.
.-= Scott´s last blog ..It’s Snowing Geese: BwBTC Trip to Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge and Wildhorse Golf Club =-.

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Tabib December 1, 2009 at 6:41 am

Wow! for that inflight shot.
Good finding of great birding spot close to your home.
.-= Tabib´s last blog ..Scarlet-rumped Trogon =-.

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Amber Coakley December 2, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Hi Larry – what is a grainery tree?

I understand your Wood Duck woes – they are so hard to get close to. When you do get close though…boy are they beautiful. This is such a wonderful time of year for birdwatching – and just being outside. I always find myself trying to catch up with my favorite blogs late at night or in the wee hours of the morning, and it always makes me want to go outside right away. :-)

Thanks for the tour of Battle Creek – it’ll hold me over for awhile!
.-= Amber Coakley´s last blog ..The Bird, the Caterpillar, and a Mystery =-.

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Larry December 3, 2009 at 6:37 am

@Amber I spelled granary wrong but it has been corrected. A granary tree is where Acorn Woodpeckers store their acorns. Here is a good photo of one.

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jason December 3, 2009 at 10:23 am

Wow! Seems like a good place to visit with lots to see. The deer really was a treat, I’m sure. Beautiful animal!

And I did a double-take at first for the same reason Wren pointed out: My first thought was Battle Creak, Michigan, in which case I thought you were doing some serious traveling.

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Gunnar Engblom December 3, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Hi Larry

I really like the pictures. You have so many nice areas to visit in California.
.-= Gunnar Engblom´s last blog ..Facebook News Feed and Live Feed. =-.

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Jan Axel December 6, 2009 at 12:38 am

It seems a very nice place. I’m a birder, but really like your pic of the deer.
.-= Jan Axel´s last blog ..Welcome december =-.

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