Large flocks of northern shoveler, mallards, gadwall, wigeon, green-winged teal, cinnamon teal, northern pintail, ring-billed duck, canvasback, ruddy duck, and snow, Ross’ and white-fronted geese swarm over the seasonal, and permanent wetlands that comprise a quarter of San Luis National Wildlife Refuge in central California. Waterfowl generally remain until mid-April before they begin to fly north to breeding areas. Some mallard, gadwall, and cinnamon teal stay through the spring and summer and breed on the refuge.
Shorebirds, including sandpipers and plovers, can be found in the tens of thousands from autumn through spring. Large flocks of dunlin, long-billed dowitchers, least sandpipers and western sandpipers should be feeding in shallow seasonal wetlands, while flocks of long-billed curlews use both wetlands and grasslands. More than 25 species of shorebirds have been documented at San Luis Refuge, which has three auto tours routes with associated nature trails and observation decks.
San Luis National Wildlife Refuge
947-C West Pacheco Blvd
Los Banos, CA 93635