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Photography at the Sacramento NWR Complex

I just sent an email to the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) with information about photography in the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex in the northern part of California’s Central Valley, including gps coordinates of three photographic blinds that can be reserved. Since some of you may live in California or be planning a visit, I include some of the text of the email below, with links. The web site for the complex is very informative.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo

The gps coordinates of the two blinds at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge and of the one photographic blind at the Colusa NWR of the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex, as sent by folks at the NWR have been converted to decimal degrees later in this email. A PDF map of the complex is available online here.

The blinds are reservable by contacting the Refuge Visitor Center at 530-934-2801.

There is a web page on photography at the Sacramento and Colusa NWRs, from autos, on foot, and from the blinds. Photos from the Colusa blind will soon be posted online, according to the web page. Guidelines for photographers are here.

I have converted the NAD27, UTM Zone 10N format (in the email from the NWR) to decimal degrees for each of the blinds:

Photo Blind #1: N39.42182 W122.15317

Photo Blind #2: N39.41228 W122.14434

For Colusa NWR:

Photo Blind #3: N39.18536 W122.05165

A “birding trail hotspot” map is available online with species of interest and locations and times of viewing. The main web site for the complex at is excellent with regard to events and education. Visitor and Refuge Unit Maps are available at

When I visited the Sacramento Wildlife Refuge in person in September, it was on a weekend. The Visitor Center is not open on weekends until November. I spoke with a firefighter at the NWR and he provided me with contact information for follow up. The firefighter told me that it would be necessary to wade out to the blinds in boots. The coordinates had already been determined. The folks at the NWR like to minimize the disturbances to the large populations of birds there.

Note that mountain lions have been sighted in the Sacramento NWR complex. From the web site at

Notice: Mountain Lions have been sighted on the Sacramento River NWR units. Immediately report all encounters or attacks by calling the California Department of Fish and Game’s 24-hour dispatch center (916) 445-0045 and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Sacramento NWRC at (530) 934-280l. For further information on Mountain Lions, visit the web site:

When visiting the Refuge, it is highly recommeded to:

• Do not hike alone. Go in groups, with adults supervising children.
• Keep children close to you. Animals seem especially drawn to children; keep children within sight at all times.
• Do not approach a lion. Most mountains lions will try to avoid confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
• Do not run from a lion. Running may stimulate a mountain lion’s instinct to chase.
• Do not crouch down or bend over. A human standing does not resemble a mountain lion’s natural prey.
• Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open jacket if wearing one. Pick up small children. Wave arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice.
• Fight back if attacked. Mountain lions usually try to bite the head or neck; try to remain standing and face the attacking animal.

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