U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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San Luis
National Wildlife Refuge


947-C West Pacheco Blvd
Los Banos, CA   93635
E-mail: karl_stromayer@fws.gov
Phone Number: 209-826-3508
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
http://fws.gov/refuge/san_luis/
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  Wildlife Observation and Photography
Continued . . .

Waterfowl populations peak from October through March. December is the best month to view ducks (especially mallards and green-winged teal), while geese are most numerous in January. San Luis Refuge is recommended for those seeking duck concentrations, especially mallards and green-winged teal.

The wonders of spring are at a peak in March, which may be the best time for general sightseeing. Wildflowers, especially within the vernal pools at Kesterson, are in full bloom in March and April.

San Luis hosts a herd of magnificent tule elk, which live within a fenced, 760-acre enclosure. An auto tour route encircles the area. These unique mammals are most easily observed during the early mornings and late afternoons, especially the August through October breeding or "rutting" season.

Spring and fall migrations witness many species of shorebirds. Greater and lesser yellowlegs, long-billed dowitchers, black-bellied plovers, plus a variety of sandpipers stop to feed on the wetlands' protein-rich invertebrates and crustaceans.

Summer residents on the refuge include mallards, gadwall, and cinnamon teal. American avocets, black-necked stilts, white-faced ibis, and tricolored blackbirds normally nest here. Many songbirds, hawks, and owls also use the riparian habitat.

Mammals include the endangered San Joaquin kit fox, striped skunk, cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbit, coyote, and California ground squirrel.


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