Located 30 miles south of the city of Sacramento (and just north of the San Joaquin County line), the Consumnes River Preserve is part of a vast network of waterways in the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta … and one of my favorite local venues for watching and photographing birds. The Preserve’s public areas are open between sunrise and sunset every day of the year. In order to protect the sensitive wetlands, domestic pets and horses are not allowed, bicycles cannot be ridden on the trails, and camping, fires and smoking are prohibited.
The Visitor’s Center houses interpretive displays – placed at eye level for children and wheelchair users – that tell of the natural and cultural history of the area.
It is also the commencement point for two trails: The Consumnes River Walk and the Lost Slough Wetlands Walk.
On the other hand, the one-mile long Lost Slough Wetlands Walk, a paved loop that is completely accessible, allows a wheelchair user to see the terrain and the migratory birds that inhabit the wetlands area.
The Preserve has been declared as an area of global significance for birds. More than 250 species of birds have been recorded on the Preserve, including several nesting pairs of Swainson’s hawks, an impressive numbers of greater and lesser Sandhill cranes, numerous varieties of geese, tundra swans and “a plethora of ducks.” Blue herons, white egrets, red-winged blackbirds, hummingbirds and many other feathered friends can also be viewed from the Preserve’s trails and boardwalk.
Also present, although not as readily seen (by me, at least) are river otters, beavers, muskrats, raccoons, black-tailed mule deer, mink and “the rare giant garter snake.” (I am most grateful to have avoided the latter!)
I tend to go to the Preserve in the late afternoon to see the birds and enjoy the sunset. A recent outing with a photography group gave me an opportunity to focus on the wheelchair accessibility of the Preserve. With the exception of the River Walk (as noted above), the Preserve is quite accessible.
While I realize that not everyone enjoys watching and photographing birds, it’s one of my favorite ways to relax and renew my spirit. And the Consumnes River Preserve is a perfect venue for this R&R!