01 Dec Field Trip to River West Madera
Field Trip to River West Madera
October 11, 2023
We will meet at 8:00 a.m. just outside the Valley Golf Center (which is south and down the hill from Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera County). The walk will mostly follow along the San Joaquin River downstream toward Sycamore Island. Although the river is also accessible from Wildwood Native Park, we will start from the Golf Center as the status of the Park is uncertain at this time.
We plan to take Palm Avenue south toward the river from the golf course, past the pipe gate, then following the river downstream, first on the service road to Sycamore Island, then along the Riverfront Trail, ultimately emerging at a grouping of several ponds and a large lagoon just north of the river channel. The Riverfront Trail follows a berm next to the river and is somewhat narrow and uneven. For anyone not comfortable with it, the Sycamore Island road can be followed instead. Total distance is about 3.5 miles.
Although this is directly across the river from River West Open Space, be prepared for some different birds on the Madera County side. We will be looking especially for our some of our early returning winter friends, including common merganser, white-crowned sparrows, black-crowned night heron, white-throated swift, northern flickers, phainopepla, Say’s phoebes, ruby-crowned kinglets, yellow-rumped warblers, and black-throated gray warblers.
Bring suitable clothing (layers) and walking shoes, snacks, water, head covering, sunscreen, and binoculars. The ponds and lagoon will be quite amenable to spotting scopes, although they are more than a mile and a half from the assembly area.
Directions: Take Highway 41 north from Fresno, to the first exit north of the San Joaquin River (Exit 138A). Turn right at the intersection and follow Cobb Ranch Road back toward Fresno until you get to the first intersection. Turn right and proceed under the Highway 41 bridges to the parking area just outside the golf course where we will assemble.
Leader: John McDaniel
Phone: (559) 779-7186