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Celebrate waterfowl festival, and help open a new refuge.

On autumn days, the broad blue sky over the northern Sacramento Valley often darkens and grows raucous with the wings and cries of migratory birds moving toward the natural wetlands and winter-flooded rice fields of Colusa County. Sandhill cranes and white pelicans winter here, and thousands of snow geese form great dreamlike clouds overhead.

October 19 and 20, after the rice harvest is in, a festival takes place at the Colusa County Fairgrounds (on State 20, 10 miles east of I-5). Annual attractions include a rice cook-off (with various rice products to sample), displays by wildlife artisans, and a duck-calling championship (asserted to be "absolutely impartial," in spite of many entries by hometown callers).

But an especially significant reason to come this year is the dedication of Audubon's new 500-acre Paul L. Wattis Waterfowl Sanctuary, just north of the town of Colusa off Gridley Road. Audubon exhibits at the festival will help establish an interpretive perspective, and docents (with spotting scopes) will lead groups through the refuge. (You can come on your own other times, though you'll miss receiving instruction in identifying such sounds as the "feeding chuckle.") Vans will shuttle between the fairgrounds and the refuge. For more festival details, call (916) 458-2541.

Five larger refugees (Colusa, Delevan, Sacramento, Gray Lodge, and Sutter) are nearby. Several have driving-tour loops; expect the pace to be bird-watcher slow, and subject to many halts. Refuge walking trails are flat, easy, and full of interesting small events--just right for an intergenerational outing. Call Audubon at (916) 481-5332.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sunset's Travel Guide; Colusa, California
Publication:Sunset
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Words:254
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