Local residents can take advantage of a couple unique opportunities to view wildlife up close and personal, with tours and programs hosted through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Running the first through third Saturdays and Sundays of the month, sign up now for the Sandhill Crane Wetland Tours at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, 7730 W. Woodbridge Road, Lodi. Online registration is available for those wishing to participate in guided tours, which run through February. A one-day Lands Pass must be purchased in advance (instructions are on the registration website). Tours fill quickly and registration may be done as much as six weeks in advance. To register or for more information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/3/crane-tour.
Weekends also feature Guided Wildlife Tours at the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley. The 90-minute walking tour begins at 12:30 p.m. and covers slightly more than a half mile through this premier birding spot that highlights migratory waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. Tours are canceled in heavy rain. No reservations are necessary for groups of less than 20 people. This land is part of the CDFW Lands Pass Program and its associated fee-for-use requirement (wildlife.ca.gov/lands-pass). There is no additional cost for the tour. For more information, call (530) 846-7505 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.