Seasons of Wildlife

Least Sandpipers

Located in the heart of California along the Pacific Flyway, our warm summer and mild winter attracts wildlife from as far as the Arctic tundra to South America...

  • Winter


    Bundle up, as this is the best time of year to view visiting migratory wildlife. Seasonal wetlands, lush green grasslands, and mild climate welcome birds to Stone Lakes NWR from as far as Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.  These migrants will spend the winter eating and storing up energy for their long flight back to breeding grounds in early spring.  Common distant visitors include ducks, geese, Sandhill cranes, sandpipers, and plovers.

  • Spring

    Avocet with Chicks

    As winter gives way to warmer weather and far visiting migrants head back to distant breeding grounds, many species of wildlife will call the refuge home to raise their young.  Seeking safe and secluded spots from predators, you just might be lucky enough to see little ones for American Avocets, Mallards, Tree Swallows, Swainson's Hawks, Great Blue Herons, and even bounding Coyote pups.

  • Summer

    Western Kingbird

    Temperatures are rising and breeding is winding down, time for the wildlife to teach their young survival skills, molt last years feathers or fur, and forage on summer seeds, insects and berries.  Seasonal wetlands are dried up, grasslands turn golden yellow, and the riparian tree line offers welcomed relief from the afternoon heat.  Morning is best to catch summer songs from Western Kingbirds, Western Meadowlarks, warblers, and wrens.

  • Fall

    Sandhill Cranes

    As the sun starts sinking and the days grow shorter, brisk mornings will signal another change of seasons for the wildlife.  Summers food supply has grown short, and the fall rains germinate remaining seeds to start the cycle over again.  Migratory wildlife become restless as they prepare for another long journey to the refuge.  As the wetlands are being flooded up in anticipation of our winter visitors, we hear the familiar call of a Sandhill crane....

  • Refuge Programs, Trails and Brochures

    Free of charge, seven days a week from sunrise to sunset, you can enjoy Blue Heron Trails any time of the year.  This is where you can enjoy accessible wildlife-related activities, including wildlife observation, hiking, and photography.  For more information on other visitor programs, please checkout the Visitor Activities page or the Events Calendar

    Refuge Brochure  11.2 MB pdf

    Refuge Bird List   11.7 MB pdf

    Photo Galleries