Sandhill Crane Overnight


Date & Time

Saturday, February 17, 2024 - Sunday, February 18, 2024
All Day

Location: Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park

This is a Members Only Field Trip, and requires Registration
To register, contact Jeff at email hidden; JavaScript is required, with your contact info.

This Audubon field trip will visit the Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, the Atwell Island Wetlands, the Pixley National Wildlife Refuge and the Kern National Wildlife Refuge. It will be an overnight trip.  Camping or motel accommodations are options for the night.

A update from the Trip Leaders:

As you may have noticed, it’s going to rain this weekend. We have been paying close attention to the weather forecasts, and conclude that the field trip is on. Right now they are predicting likely rain for Saturday starting at 4 PM, which could change. That could impact our visit to Pixley to see the Ibis and Cranes fly in. That could also impact our campfire chat at Allensworth later on Saturday. We will just have to wait and see, but be advised we may not attend due to rain. It should not impact our Birding on Saturday midday and Sunday morning at Kern NWR.
Since the weather will be poor, and the Crane fly-in is the major part of this trip, it is your choice as to whether you want to attend or not.
Peggy and I were planning on camping at Allensworth but our RV is having problems, so we are getting a hotel in Delano.
If you have any questions, contact Jeff at 805.679.1638


This SBAS members only field trip to the San Joaquin Valley begins at noon, February 17th at the front gates of  Col. Allensworth State Historic Park. We will bird the park and surrounding area, then slowly make our way by carpool to Pixley NWR by about 4 PM. We will travel the back roads to ag ponds, farm fields and canals, looking for Burrowing Owls, raptors, and a host of other birds.

At the Pixley NWR parking lot, we will gear up, including flashlights and headlamps. This is about a 2 hour event and requires sturdy shoes and warm clothes.  Scopes are useful. We then take about a 1 mile walk on a good gravel road to the viewing platform. Along the way we will find a variety of birds on land, the shoreline, and in the ponds. At the platform we will first see large numbers of White-faced Ibis coming in to night roost. Deeper into the sunset the Sandhill Cranes will come, in large numbers separated by groups. They are vociferous and at times it can be deafening!

By the time the Cranes have settled in, it is dark and we head back to the cars. We go back as a group using our flashlights and headlamps. Once back at the parking lot, everybody is on their own for the rest of the evening. The field trip leaders will be camping at Allensworth SHP,  and will host a fire side chat. All are welcome!

The following morning, we meet at the headquarters of Kern NWR  at the corner of Garces Highway and Corcoran Road,  at 9 AM. We then carpool around the ponds stopping as often as necessary to enjoy the ducks, shorebirds, raptors and marsh birds. This can take as much as three hours, but people are welcome to leave whenever they like. This concludes the field trip. A big thanks to Jack Sanford for curating this trip over many years.

Please note that we may need to cancel the event in case of flooding, pandemic related, or other unexpected events. For that reason we want your contact information.
Prior to attending this trip, visit for event updates.

Target Birds:

  • Sandhill Cranes
  • Burrowing Owls
  • Common Gallinule
  • Horned Larks
  • Loggerhead Shrike
  • Lark Sparrows
  • Blue-winged Teal
  • Marsh Wren
  • Great Horned Owls
  • White-faced Ibis
  • plus many other species

Trip Leaders:

  • Jeff Hanson
  • Peggy Kearns
  • Jack Sanford, Leader Emeritus
  • They will be camping in at Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.


Each participant must arrange their own travel, food and accommodations. It is approximately 200 miles to Colonel Allensworth SHP from SB. Allow 4 hours driving time. This driving map shows 3 possible routes. We recommend the northern or southern for arrival.
The middle route might be a fun way to go home. It is winter, so be sure to check for road conditions and closures before departing.

There are 6 Hotels in Delano, a 25 minute drive.

Camping at Allensworth is $20/night plus reservation fees. Reservations are recommended. Be advised that nearby freight trains run all night. It can get cold and sometimes there is tule fog. Tent campers should come prepared. There are hot showers at the campsite.

Bring warm clothes, hats and gloves. Dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes. Bring everything you might need for the duration. There are no fast food or quick stops close by.

Tour area map for reference here.

Other Information:

  • Bring water, snacks. Meals are your responsibility.
  • Wear sturdy shoes
  • Bring warm clothes
  • Bring a hats & gloves
  • Binoculars a must, spotting scopes are useful

Trip Coordinator:

Jeff Hanson
Contact Jeff for information or questions

Sponsored By Santa Barbara Audubon Society