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Galt Winter Bird Festival: a destination for photographers!

Tonight, I’d like to show you a collection of photos of birds at the Consumnes River Preserve in the Central Valley and of some of the hundreds of visitors who attended the Galt Winter Bird Festival at McCaffrey Middle School in Galt (1) this weekend. Amazingly, some of the photographers were shooting LONG telephoto lenses WITHOUT TRIPODS (Doh!), probably because the L-Series lenses and cameras were provided by Canon, and the photographers may not have expected them! A few of the shots are outstanding, and some of the shots are a little “soft,” but ALL of the shots teach about the great Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, which are prime winter destinations or stop-overs for birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway! Not to mention all of the resident birds…! The area may be a final destination for birds traveling from Alaska and Western Canada, or a rest stop for birds headed to the Salton Sea and Western Mexico.

(I wrote about photography at ANOTHER series of preserves, the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge comples, north of Sacramento, in October of 2007.)

On Friday, the photography department of Consumnes River College and Canon hosted a free, two-hour seminar with bird and wildlife photographer George Lepp. On Saturday, stations were set up to photograph birds with telephoto lenses of 200mm  through 800mm (mercy!) – the cameras and lenses were provided by Canon for free! Photographers were asked to bring their own memory cards.

The Consumnes River Preserve is 20 miles south of Sacramento, on Interstate 5 and one of the largest preserves and land partnerships in the region. All in all, the partners manage over 46,000 acres! Local farmers flood their fields in the winter to provide additional feeding grounds and nesting areas. Over 250 species of birds have been recorded on the preserve.

If you are a bird photographer, the Department of Fish and Game and California Watchable Wildlife sponsor a photography contest with cash and merchandise prizes. The contest runs until Feb. 29, 2012.

And for goodness sake, take your tripod! 😉

-Bill at

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