California Delta & Central Valley Birds | Dec 3-6, 2020

Just the Facts

  • Date:  Dec 3-6, 2020
  • Leader: John Ehrenfeld
  • Cost:  $495 NANPA member; $695 non-members.
  • Location:  Lodi, CA
  • Last date to register: November 14, 2020
  • Maximum number attendees:  10
  • Nearest airport: Sacramento International (SMF)
  • Car rental: All the major car rental companies can be found at Sacramento International Airport. Participants will need their own transportation for this workshop. Ride sharing is highly recommended. It is approximately 49 miles, or a one-hour drive, south to Lodi.
© John Ehrenfeld

About this Regional Event

In the heart of California’s Central Valley, thousands of acres of flooded farmlands provide a winter home for tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes that migrate along the Pacific Flyway from Siberia and Alaska. Sandhill Cranes sleep at night in standing shallow water so they can hear approaching predators like coyotes and bobcats. Before sunrise they awaken, their unmistakable vocalizations audible for miles. Then they fly off in small groups, heading for nearby fields to forage all day, and return at sunset en masse. Their exit and re-entrance are both incredible spectacles, often accentuated visually by dramatic sunrises, sunsets and wisps of tule fog.

But Sandhill Cranes aren’t the only species that make their winter homes here; watch for Tundra Swans, Snow and Ross’s Geese, Greater White-fronted Geese, Cackling Geese, Pacific Pied-billed Grebe, American White Pelicans, Rails, Double-crested Cormorants, Sandpipers, and many species of hawks, quail, pheasant, egrets, teals, ducks, owls, falcons, and woodpeckers.

Equipment
This workshop is primarily focused on wildlife. Some will be close, others will be seen at a distance, foraging or flying. Accordingly, prime telephoto or zoom lenses will be most helpful as opposed to wider angle lenses. Birders will need a good scope or binoculars. The leader suggests 300mm or higher with a 500mm or 600mm ideal. This will also enable us to remain at a distance that is respectful to the wildlife. A tripod will be helpful but is not mandatory.

© John Ehrenfeld

What to Expect

This trip has been designed for photographers and birders of all levels and includes hands-on and one-on-one photography advice for those who want it. Specifically, we will tackle shooting when the light is low, flight shots, how to look for and anticipate known crane actions like courting dances, creative framing and shooting techniques, white balance, exposure compensation and shooting in manual as well as in aperture and shutter priority.

Our destinations and the stops between them are planned to take advantage of the best possible light and wildlife activity. We will spend our time in areas that offer the best photographic possibilities. There will be a very minimal amount of walking on flat ground, and it is possible to shoot from one’s car. We strictly adhere to responsible wildlife guidelines, and take great care not to disturb wildlife.

2020 Central Valley Birds Regional Event Cancellation and No Refund Policy: NANPA will not offer any refunds for registrations for this event if cancellation is initiated by the participant, regardless of when or why the cancellation is requested. NANPA is monitoring public health and event recommendations, and if you register and this event gets cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, you will be issued a refund of your registration fee. NANPA reserves the right to cancel any event or activity due to insufficient registration or any unforeseen circumstances. NANPA will offer registration fee refunds if NANPA has to cancel the event.  It also has the right to substitute presenters if those originally scheduled cannot attend. Registrants may purchase event insurance as part of the registration process through NANPA’s partner, Allianz.  Click here to review the coverage and exclusions of this policy.  More information on this option will be shown during the checkout process for the event registration.  

NOTE:  If you do not purchase event insurance at the time that you pay for your registration, you will NOT be able to go back and purchase it with Allianz later.

If you choose to purchase travel insurance separately, you can do so with your own insurance carrier, or NANPA members can receive a special travel insurance rate through USI Affinity/Travel Insurance Services.



NOTE:  If you do not purchase event insurance at the time that you pay for your registration, you will NOT be able to go back and purchase it with Allianz later.

If you choose to purchase travel insurance separately, you can do so with your own insurance carrier, or NANPA members can receive a special travel insurance rate through USI Affinity/Travel Insurance Services.

Lodging

Holiday Inn Express
1337 East Kettleman Lane
Lodi CA  95240
Phone:  209-210-0150

NANPA has secured a room rate of $119 plus 10% tax for 2 queens or 1 king bed.  Rooms have a pull-out sofa sitting area.  Includes full hot breakfast buffet, free internet and parking, refrigerators and microwaves in every room, and indoor pool and spa.

Guests can call the Front Desk and reference group code NAN when making reservations or click on this link  North American Nature Photography Association

Reservations must be made on or before November 14, 2020 at noon.

MEALS:
All meals are on your own and not included in registration fee except the final Sunday lunch.  It would be helpful to plan your breakfast ahead of time and to have snacks, water and lunch with you. You should have a full tank of fuel each day. There is a Subway on our route and a good convenience store for drinks. 

MEDICAL:
Adventist Health Lodi Memorial Hospital (24 hour emergency room)
975 S. Fairmont Avenue
Lodi, CA 95240
(209) 334-3411

MISCELLANEOUS:
Cell phone service is good in the area. Average temperatures for December are 55/38 degrees with average rainfall of 3 inches. Dress in layers, wear sturdy footwear, bring sunscreen and water.

© John Ehrenfeld

Leader: John Ehrenfeld

Born and raised in New York City, John attended the High School of Music & Art. After graduating from college with a Fine Arts Degree, John became a television producer, eventually starting his own company and moving it to Los Angeles where it prospered for two decades.

“I will always appreciate the film business and some wonderful mentors for giving me the technical and creative foundation in lighting and lens optics which has served me so well.” 

Photography—which was once a hobby—turned into a passion throughout the years and helped shape the path John would take going forward. Settling in Napa County in Northern California, John has been totally dedicated to his art, traveling far and wide while concentrating on his local area which he loves, from the Pacific to the Sierras, from the San Joaquin Valley to the Oregon border. 

John is currently working on his first book, “Silently Into The Wild,” and has shot for numerous organizations and publications. His prints are for sale through his website, and he conducts individual and group wildlife photo tours and teaches photography. Visit him at johnehrenfeldphotography.com

Photo Locations

The following general locations will be visited:

WOODBRIDGE ROAD/ISENBERG CRANE RESERVE
The Stockton Delta Wetlands including the 353-acre Woodbridge Ecological Reserve provide the largest area of freshwater marsh wintering habitat in California, not only for Sandhill Cranes but other waterfowl as well.

STATEN ISLAND ROAD
Staten Island Road provides a critical wintering ground in the Delta essential for Sandhill Cranes and a host of other migratory birds. It’s a demonstration of how wildlife friendly farming can be an economically viable option for farmers; and a living laboratory for science-based approaches to habitat creation in the face of drought, climate change and land conversion.

CONSUMNES RIVER PRESERVE
The Cosumnes River Preserve is 46,000 acres that protects oak trees, savanna, riparian forest and habitat. Agricultural development has changed the landscape from groves of oaks and tule marshes to productive farmlands. Located on the bird migration route, The Pacific Flyway, the preserve is designated an Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy and Audubon Society.

Preliminary Itinerary

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3rd, 2020:
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM.  Meet and greet at the Holiday Inn Express in Lodi. Review what to expect. Questions and answers on birds, equipment, logistics.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4th, 2020:
6:00 AM Meet outside Holiday Inn Express, Travel to Woodbridge Road
8:30 AM Travel to Staten Island Road
9:00 AM – 12 Noon Chance to photograph Cranes, Swans, Geese, Ducks and Raptors
12 – 1:00 PM Break for picnic-style lunch, weather permitting (Bring your own, not included in registration fee)
1:00 PM Travel to Consumnes River Preserve
1:30 PM – 3:30 PM Walk boardwalk and trails. Chance to photograph Cranes, Swans, Geese, Ducks and Raptors
3:30 PM Travel back to Woodbridge Road
4PM to 5:30 PM – Sunset fly-in of Cranes.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5th, 2020:

6:00 AM Meet outside Holiday Inn Express, Travel to Woodbridge Road
6:00 AM – 8:30 AM Wait for Cranes to awake and fly.
8:30 AM – 10:30 AM Drive west on Woodbridge towards levee looking for wildlife
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM Drive to TBD hotel in Lodi.
11:00 AM – 12:00 Noon lunch in Lodi at TBD (on your own, not included in registration fee)
12:00 Noon – 5:00 PM Free time and download photos to Pads, Phones or Laptops
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM Photo review and discussion at TBD location in Lodi. Questions and answers.
7:30 PM – Group dinner (on your own, not included in registration fee)

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6th, 2020:

6:00 AM Meet outside Holiday Inn Express (checked out and ready to leave for airport), Travel to Woodbridge Road
6:00 AM – 8:30 AM Wait for Cranes to awake and fly
8:30 AM – 10: 00 AM Drive west on Woodbridge towards levee looking for wildlife
10:00 AM Travel to Consumnes River Preserve
10:30 PM – 12 Noon. Walk boardwalk and trails. Photograph at will.
12:00 – 1:00 PM Lunch (included in registration fee)