We were in Sonoma on a rainy weekend in the middle of January, and while there, we went to check out Hudeman Slough. It is a 57 acre of natural seasonal freshwater marsh that’s being restored for the wildlife of the San Pablo Bay Region.
Trail Hiked: Hudeman Slough Nature Trail, Sonoma
Level of Difficulty: Easy
What to Bring: Water-filled reusable bottles; binoculars for bird-watching
Note: The area has reclaimed water so it’s unsafe to drink, swim, and go fishing. For safety reasons, hikers must stay on the trails. Dogs and vehicles are not allowed there too.
Hudeman Slough is a haven for migratory and resident waterfowls, and in our two-hour, 3-mile walk, my super birder husband saw 48 species of birds. I would say it is a lot of birds considering that it was raining slightly heavier than usual when we were there.
Canada Goose | American Wigeon | Mallard | Northern Shoveler | Northern Pintail | Green-winged Teal | Bufflehead | Ruddy Duck | Pied-billed Grebe | Great Blue Heron | Great Egret | Snowy Egret | Black-crowned Night-Heron | White-tailed Kite | Northern Harrier | Red-tailed Hawk | American Coot | Black-necked Stilt | American Avocet |Killdeer | Greater Yellowlegs | Dunlin | Least Sandpiper | Long-billed Dowitcher | Wilson’s Snipe | Bonaparte’s Gull | California Gull | Forster’s Tern | Mourning Dove | Anna’s Hummingbird | American Kestrel | Black Phoebe | Say’s Phoebe | Loggerhead Shrike | American Crow | Common Raven | Tree Swallow | Marsh Wren | American Robin | European Starling | American Pipit | Common Yellowthroat | Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s) | Savannah Sparrow | Song Sparrow | Red-winged Blackbird | Western Meadowlark | House Finch
My favorite among these birds is the very common Red-winged Blackbird. There were so many of them in the area that it almost feels like being at a Star Wars bird sanctuary (because I feel that their song fits the movie franchise perfectly). I love a section there that’s almost like a lake, and looking at the Bonaparte’s Gulls gliding over it felt like watching a ballet show, or watching an Olympic ice skating competition.
To get to Hudeman Slough, drive east on Highway 12 from Sonoma to Ramal Road.
Enjoy bird watching!
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