California Cities


Woodbridge, CA Central Valley

By Barbara Steinberg

The Central Valley is most captivating in the Fall. The first rains have re-greened the summer gold and wintering wildlife is flocking to newly plowed and fallow fields. Joining wildlife and eco-tourism enthusiasts at a 2-day conference in Stockton brings more than its share of surprises. The conference often includes trips to wildlife veiwing areas such as Woodbridge Ecological Reserve and Lodi Lake to view birds and other wildlife.

Woodbridge is Mecca for sandhill cranes and other migratory birds this time of year...and I have seldom been disappointed on my excursions. They are return each year by the thousands. Trumpter swans, egrets, great blue heron, kestrals, hawks, cormorants, geese, ducks -- just a few of the other birds witnessed. If you have never visited...GO! It is an unforgettable experience. Photos of the incoming cranes were hard to capture with my little camera -- especially in the misty light. But the feeling is clear.

Lodi's a wilderness retreat in an urban jungle. Totally unexpected and I plan to return to really explore its riparian landscape and primordial forests. The docent said that the winter months are the most interesting...certainly the most quiet. You'll see many birds (beautiful wood ducks) and signs of river otters, deer, and beaver. Yes, this is Lodi!

And some personal thoughts while driving to Stockton. Wish there were photos but difficult to capture this view:

Driving away from the city -- skies are clear, blue, and sun-filled. Speeding furiously into the flow of traffic (there's no choice), but up ahead plumes of white rise before it smoke? Slowly, slowly, we drive into the tule fog which is gracing the winter valley. The sun filters through and gradually disappears as the thick white swallows the road, fields, and sky.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

More Info

Near Woodbridge