Join us for a docent-led 3.5 mile hike learning some of the natural and cultural history of the Cosumnes River Preserve.
Join Cosumnes River Preserve docents on a guided hike along the River Walk Trail! This hike will take you back to the days when the Plains Miwok once inhabited the Cosumnes River’s surrounding landscape.
You’ll learn about the plants and animals they interacted with and the unique ways in which they utilized the land as a part of their everyday lives.
The route will cover approximately 3.5 miles, but participants that do not wish to walk that far may turn around at any time. This is a great family activity for all ages! This is an outdoor setting in nature, so please dress accordingly with sturdy shoes and layers. There is not potable water, so please bring all the water you’ll need for the hike. Binoculars encouraged!
The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary team and the Cosumnes River Preserve have teamed up to help protect the environment and enhance the safety of boaters who utilize the preserves waterways. Join the Coast Guard Auxiliary team on Saturday to learn how you can be a safe boater. If you have any additional questions you can also reach out to the outreach and volunteer coordinator for the Cosumnes River Preserve: Hillma@saccounty.gov
Tall Forest Bird Survey
Tall Forest Bird Survey
6:15 am-12:00 pm
The Tall Forest is a substantial block of valley oak-dominated woodland strongly resembling the pre-Anglo Central Valley riparian forests, a habitat now almost obliterated from California. The big trees overtop a varied, dense understory, and California grape and poison oak climb into the canopy in many places. The complex vegetative structure permits a rich variety of birds to reside permanently or seasonally there.
Come join John Trochet, leader of this survey for more than two decades now, as we follow the birdlife of the preserve’s plum parcel through the seasons and across the years.
This is a survey on foot lasting 5-6 hours, sometimes longer when the birding is exceptional.
Because we start early, we have a good chance to see mammals as well, such as beaver, river otter, striped skunk, raccoon, coyote, squirrels and deer, plus ectothermic vertebrates on occasion. A good variety of local butterflies and odonates is found in season. In places the trails are nothing more than animal traces, and we push through blackberry thickets, clamber over down logs and bend under low limbs or grape tangles to make our way through. This is not a trip for folks in shorts nor for small children (not recommended for children less than 10 years of age). Footwear requirements vary with the season. Mud is usual between November and April, sometimes later, and standing or moving water is possible in this same time frame. At this time of year at least, rubber knee boots are strongly suggested. Ticks are often common in spring and early summer. Stickers (especially beggars tick and cocklebur) are features of late summer and autumn. Rubber knee boots mitigate against these, too. Mosquitoes may be abroad on any modestly warm day of the year. One needs to be prepared for these things. Because this is the only regularly scheduled opportunity for the public to see this area, we do not insist that participants be birders. Anyone with any natural history interest is welcome. But bear in mind that it is a bird survey if your interest lies elsewhere.
Especially during the rainy season, river conditions may change quickly and dramatically. During minor flood events, rubber knee boots may be insufficient to conduct the survey. I do allow others to join me when hip boots are required. At this season one should check this website or the Central Valley Birds listserv (where the leader can post late notice himself) the day before the survey to find out if hip boots are required. Seeing this place in flood is a special experience, too, though the woodland birding during flood events is generally poor. The surveys in June and July are not recommended as they start very early (tough for most people to get up for), are typically hot and the birds at that season few and quiet.
The Tall Forest is a wonderful place. We urge all who are able to visit at least once.
Tour will depart from the Farm Center gate at 6:15 a.m. (Corner of Bruceville Road and Desmond Road)
Please Bring Bug Repellent – the mosquitos are very intense!
Come to Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) for a two-hour guided walk focusing on photographing the Preserve. The first hour will be spent on creatively “seeing” Preserve photo opportunities, including using light, shape, texture, and color to artistically capture the Preserve. Topics include: direction of light, color vs monochrome, horizontal vs vertical, use of leading lines and depth of field in compositions. Camera functionality to be discussed include: use of histogram to confirm proper exposure and using aperture to change depth of field focus. Due to the wide variety of cameras, CRP guides cannot be expected to know how to make changes to camera setting, so participants should be familiar with their cameras and/or bring their camera manuals. Tripods are encouraged, especially for morning, low-light conditions.
The second hour will be spent photographing the Preserve’s wintering waterfowl and include a discussion of the best camera settings for capturing moving and flying birds, using depth of field to reduce visual distractions, and the exposure complexities of photographing birds with both light and dark plumage.
Remember, this is Nature in winter, so please dress accordingly with sturdy shoes and layers. Gloves will be very helpful as cameras and tripods get cold. There is no potable water and participants must bring their own water.
There is a limit of 10 participants, who must register using the link below. Wearing a mask may be necessary if social distancing cannot be maintained during the walk or during photo reviews.
Join experienced naturalists for a leisurely paddle up the Cosumnes River and its peaceful sloughs. We’ll likely see forest birds, raptors, egrets, herons, cormorants, and maybe deer, a beaver and/or an otter. We’ll talk about the flora and fauna found in this riparian corridor, and about the first people to live here, the Plains Miwoks.
Bring your own boat (canoe, kayak, SUP), paddle, and PFD.
We will meet at the Cosumnes River Preserve Visitor Center Parking lot.
Please be there and have your boat unloaded and ready to put in by 9:00 a.m. at the latest, because we will depart from the parking lot at 9:00. We’ll be back at the parking lot around noon.
COVID PRECAUTIONS: Please social distance by maintaining 6 ft. from other participants. Face masks required if not able to maintain social distancing.
For Sept, the starting time will be 630. We meet at the McFarland Ranch parking area (https://goo.gl/maps/msx77oJa6Khua3Fy6). If the gate is locked when people arrive, I will be there shortly to open it.
The Orr Ranch parcel of the Cosumnes River Preserve is a mix of valley oak riparian forest similar to the Tall Forest, open grassland, forb-dominated seasonal floodplain, and willow-lined seasonal sloughs. The summer and fall route visits a portion of the Cosumnes River, while in winter and early spring, access varies considerably depending on water levels on the floodplain. This monthly survey began nearly 30 years ago, led by Terry Ronneberg. Chris Conard has been leading it since 2007.
The Orr Ranch bird survey provides the only regular access to this rarely-visited portion of the Preserve. Participants should be aware that most of the route is open country walking, manageable for reasonably fit hikers, but it mostly lacks established trails. With care, patches of poison oak can be avoided, but it is quite common on sections of the route. Stickers, ticks, and mosquitoes (especially spring and summer) can be a nuisance. The full route is about 5.5 miles and lasts about as many hours. It is mostly flat, but with some uneven ground, vines and logs to negotiate.
As with many bird surveys, this one begins a half hour before sunrise, just as it becomes possible to see without a flashlight. The start-time changes throughout the year and will be posted on the Preserve’s website. Every outing is different, but the most rewarding times of year are likely from September to early winter before major flooding limits access. Spring can be wonderful too, but mosquitoes can be particularly annoying then. June and July are usually the slowest times, but can have surprises too–for several years, the route hosted a singing Summer Tanager from May to August.
Long plans are a must and a long-sleeved shirt is helpful to avoid scratches from blackberries as well as biting insects. This outing is not recommended for children less than 10 years of age. Recommended footwear changes with the season. Hiking boots usually suffice in summer and fall, though Chris always wears rubber knee boots. These shed wet grass and stickers, limit ticks (tick are possible, but rarely encountered on this route), allow for shallow wading as necessary, and avoid the potential of getting poison oak oils on boot laces (rubber boots are really quite liberating, though they can be hot by the end of the walk, and uncomfortable if you don’t have a well-fitting pair).
Especially in the wet season, check the website for footwear recommendations. Non-birders are welcome (please bring binoculars–you’ll have a much better time if you do), but should know that we move rather slowly and quietly, searching and listening for birds. This is also a great approach for seeing much of what the Preserve has to offer in terms of other wildlife, plants, and the Cosumnes River’s dynamic nature.
Your public lands are in need of your helping hands. Join thousands of other Americans across the country along with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the National Environmental Education Foundation as they celebrate National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 24th. Volunteers are needed at the Cosumnes River Preserve to do habitat restoration and road/trail maintenance. Your investment of time and work on America’s Public Lands will yield high returns for your country and our local natural resources. For your hard work, you will receive a free lunch and the pride of knowing that you contributed time and labor that the Cosumnes River Preserve could not otherwise have accomplished. To volunteer email email@example.com or call 916-684-2816!