Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge is the first urban national wildlife refuge in the US, and is the home and/or habitat for thousands of migratory birds and other species.  I visited the park twice, once in the late afternoon, and then early morning on another day.  I wanted to see and experience the variety of wildlife at different times of the day.


Freemont Trail Map

Trail Map near education center

Directions to Refuge

On my first visit, I arrived late in the afternoon.  Parking was easy, and there were a reasonable number of visitors starting or finishing their hikes.

I started out on the La Raviere Marsh Trail.  I quietly watched a Snowy Egret hunting, and patiently waited as he searched for his dinner.

What's for dinner?You can spend some time in this little marsh, and if you're quiet, you'll see a great variety of birds hunting, nesting and just floating around.  

Next, I crossed the road and went over to the Tidelands Trail.  

Looking up at the hill, I saw a burrowing owl fly by quickly.

He was quickly followed by a Turkey Vulture.

As you wander the Refuge, you'll cross marshes on a variety of bridges, giving you a better chance to see some wild birds.

This is a place to wander.  Bring a map and explore the grounds.  There is a visitor center, an amphitheater, and benches located along the trails.  As always, bring water.  

Black-necked stilts

As the afternoon light faded, I came across some Dowitchers feeding.

And further explored the marsh.


I decided to revisit the refuge to see if I would find different birds and different light.  It was an overcast morning, with intermittent rain.  That gave me some nice light to get a few pictures of the trails.

Poppies were in bloom..

Bridge across the marsh

Of course, I wanted to capture some more images of the local population.  I came across a Snowy Egret hunting and fluffing up.

Just about to strike...look at the intensity in the eyes.I continued on in the LaRaviere marsh, where the bridge has some interesting lines.

And I passed a couple of geese and a duck, who posed for me.

This is an interesting place.  You'll see birds that you would never see in your back yard, unless you live near the water.  The trails are not too difficult to traverse, and they are well populated. The brochure recommends visiting during an outgoing tide to see birds in the mudflats, and during high tide to see more birds in the marshes.  Here is a tide chart to help you out.  If you have binoculars, bring them.  If you're there for photography, a lens range between 200-600mm is good for birds, and wide angle lens would be great for landscapes.

Enjoy, be safe, and have fun!

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Morning Scenes

Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge

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Afternoon Scenes

Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge