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Birding and Ecology in the California Delta by Boat

Program Number: 16891RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/3/2013 - 2/6/2013; 11/1/2015 - 11/4/2015; 11/4/2015 - 11/7/2015;
Duration: 3 nights
Location: Walnut Grove, California
Price starting at: $649.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Birding Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 8; 3 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Low Salt    

Venture into remote areas accessible only by boat and marvel at the wealth of migratory birds and waterfowl that inhabit the California Delta’s 738,000 acres. Learn the story of the delta, which collects nearly 27 million acre feet of water from more than 40 percent of California's surface. As you traverse the waterways with an expert naturalist aboard a 50-foot custom vessel, keep your eyes peeled for sightings of hawks, falcons, owls and thousands of waterfowl including tundra swans, snow geese, ducks, Sandhill Cranes and more.




Highlights

• Hear tales of the two ranchers who donated land to create a town during a visit to the Rio Vista Museum.
• Enjoy lectures on bird habitats and migration as you journey along the waterways with an expert naturalist.
• Learn about the interesting mechanisms of several drawbridges as you travel through them.



Activity Particulars

Walking several blocks at a time, irregular stairs down to dock, no elevator in hotel, rooms on second floor of hotel.



As all birding on this program is done from the boat, there is one expert for a group of 24.



Coordinated by Road Scholar.




Walnut Grove

In 1850, John W. Sharp founded the town of Walnut Grove, one of the earliest settlements along the Sacramento River. The surrounding walnut and oak forests fueled riverboats and commerce, allowing the town to prosper as an agricultural center. Today, the town retains its small-town charm with a population of just over 600.



Accommodations
1927 Prohibition-era hotel uniquely located in the heart of California’s Delta. No elevator but historic atmosphere with river views.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Ronn Patterson

Ronn Patterson is a naturalist, marine biologist, student of whales, professional photographer, teacher and writer. For more than 25 years, he has led natural-history trips to such places as Africa, the Amazon, the Andes, the Galapagos, Baja California and Mexico. He has worked as a wildlife biologist in Alaska and been a member of the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission. Ronn is a professional skipper and captains his boat, Delphinus, nearly 10,000 miles each year.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Ryde Hotel
  Walnut Grove, CA 3 nights
 Ryde Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: 1998 marked the advent of a Renaissance for this historical property. Under the direction of new owners, the Hotel has resumed its original name and undergone a major renovation. The renovation maintained the character of the original design while incorporating contemporary amenities, such as jacuzzi tubs, with glorious river views. What they have achieved is an ambience that is both unique and casually elegant. The Ryde Hotel was an opulent establishment, complete with beauty salon and barbershop, that served as a riverboat way station. It was also rumored to be a bordello. The lower level was a speakeasy, offering bootleg whiskey and jazz to a clientele in search of a good time. There was even a trap door in the floor that allegedly opened to reveal a tunnel running under the road to a hidden doorway at the river's edge. It's not difficult to imagine the type of nocturnal activities that secret passageway has seen! Speculation mixed with fact generated a good amount of notoriety that brought with it a certain cachet. The Ryde attracted celebrities of all types from President Herbert Hoover to local and state politicians to movie stars and mobsters. In later years the Hotel became a boarding house for the men and women who built the Delta levees and pioneered the area's thriving agricultural industry. Over time, the Ryde has experienced many incarnations and owners including the Lon Chaney, Jr. family. At one point the name was changed to the Grand Island Inn. During the 1980's it was even a rock'n'roll mecca!
  Contact info: 14340 Highway 160
Walnut Grove, CA 95690 USA
phone: 916-776-1318
web: www.rydehotel.com
  Room amenities: No television or phone in the rooms
  Facility amenities: Nine hole executive golf course, on-site restaurant, private dock, park-like grounds, swimming pool, Internet access
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Please call the hotel. Hotel is busy on weekends, check for availability.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Please call the hotel. Hotel is busy on weekends, check for availability.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00 p.m. hotel check in time. 4:00-5:00 p.m. meet in hotel lobby for Road Scholar registration. You will be staying at Ryde Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends at 10:30 a.m. after optional bird walk. Room checkout time is 12:00 p.m. You will be staying at Ryde Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Hotel has free parking.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Walnut Grove, CA
  Nearest city or town:  Sacramento
  Nearest highway: Hwy. 12, Interstate 5
  Nearest airport:  Sacramento International, SFO
  From End of Program
  Location: Walnut Grove, CA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Sacramento

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Super Shuttle
phone: 916-648-2500
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$89
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

about 1 hour 

 

Distance:

 

about 42 miles

   

Please call Super Shuttle in advance to confirm this service and price.

 

Sacramento

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

None - Car Required
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Travel Time:

 

About 1 hour 

 

Distance:

 

42 miles

   

Sacramento International Airport has most major car rental agencies: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz and National

 

San Francisco

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

None - Car Required
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Travel Time:

 

about 1 hour, 45 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

86 miles

   

SFO has most major car rental agencies, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty.

 

Oakland

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

None - Car Required
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Travel Time:

 

1 and 1/2 hours 

 

Distance:

 

71 miles

   

Oakland International Airport has most major car rental agencies: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Fox Hertz, National, Thrifty

 
Driving Directions
  Oakland Head northwest on San Leandro St. to 42nd Ave. Turn right at 40th Ave. Turn right to merge onto CA-77. Slight right to merge onto I-880 N. Slight right at I-980 E. Continue on CA-24 E. Take the I-680 N exit toward Concord/Sacramento. Keep left at the fork to continue toward I-680 N and merge onto I-680 N.Slight right at CA-242 N. Take exit 3C for State Highway 4 E toward Pittsburgh/Stockton. Merge onto CA-4 E. Continue on CA-160 N. Turn left at CA-160/River Rd. Turn right at Walnut Grove Bridge. Turn left at E-13/River Rd.
  Sacramento Exit the airport on Airport Blvd. to I-5 S. From I-5 S take exit 498 to Twin Cities Rd. Turn right at E13/Twin Cities Rd. turn left at E-13/River Rd. Turn right at Walnut Grove Bridge. Turn left at CA-160 to hotel.
  San Francisco Head east to exit the airport. Merge onto US 101 N to San Francisco. Continue to I-80 E. Take the exit onto I-580 E toward state highway 24 E/Hayward-Stockton. Take the state Highway 24 E exit toward Walnut Creek. Merge onto CA 24 E. Take the I-680 N exit toward Concord/Sacramento. Keep left at the fork to continue toward I-680 N and merge onto I-680 N. Slight right at CA 242 N. Take exit 3C for State Highway 4 E toward Pittsburgh/Stockton.Merge onto CA-4 E. Continue on CA-160 N. Turn left at CA-160/River Rd. Hotel is on the left.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check in to the hotel and register for the program. wine/cider social, dinner, meet the captain of our boat, the Delphinus, orientation and get-acquainted meeting
(Sunday, February 3)
   
 Arrive To: Check in to the hotel after 4 p.m. and register for Road Scholar. Established in 1850 by John W. Sharp, Walnut Grove is one of the earliest settlements along the Sacramento River. Sharp journeyed west from Ohio with his young family and chose the site of Walnut Grove because of the abundant walnut and oak forests in the area.
 Dinner: Enjoy a wine/cider social before buffet dinner in the hotel restaurant.
 Evening: Orientation and get-acquainted meeting in the hotel meeting room. Meet the captain of the Delphinus and learn about the boat we'll be traveling on for the next 2 days.
   
Accommodations: Ryde Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Board the Delphinus for our first day of cruising on the Delta to observe migratory birds, we learn about the habitat and the habits of these birds and some of the fascinating human history of the Delta
(Monday, February 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Board the Delphinus for our birding cruise on the Delta waters. Our captain/instructor lectures on the migratory birds who pass through these waterways at this time of year.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the Delphinus.
 Afternoon: We continue to explore the waters of the Delta observing the greatest concentration of migrating ducks and geese in California. Lecture on the habitat favored by migratory birds and their habits.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel restaurant.
 Evening: Instructor goes over the bird count. Lecture on the history of the Ryde Hotel and the Delta towns of Walnut Grove and Locke.
   
Accommodations: Ryde Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Back on board the Delphinus we continue our exploration of the Delta waters, visit the town of Rio Vista and the small, excellent museum there, lunch at a local restaurant and continue birding to see hawks, tundra swan, snow geese and sandhill cranes
(Tuesday, February 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Board the Delphinus to continue birding the Delta waterways. We travel to the town of Rio Vista to visit the Rio Vista Museum which is located in a reconstituted blacksmith shop. The museum features community history exhibits, period costumes and antique farm equipment. Docents meet us to answwer questions and point out the museum's highlights.
 Lunch: Lunch in a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Continue our cruise to view more migratory birds..We may see 6 or more species of hawks, including peregrine falcons, Swainson hawks, owls, tundra swans, snow geese, Canada geese and sandhill cranes.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel restaurant. Instructor does a final bird count. View video on the making of the documentary "Winged Migration."
   
Accommodations: Ryde Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Program ends after farewell breakfast and wrap-up session, optional walk at a nearby viewing area to observe the Delta habitat ashore
(Wednesday, February 6)
   
 Breakfast: Farewell breakfast and wrap up session with our instructor.
 Morning: Program ends. Those who are interested may choose to do an optional walk to a nearby viewing area to see migrating birds from the shore. You may leave from the walk or return to the hotel to check out. . Please check out by 11 a.m.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


The California Delta


Author: Carol Jensen


Description: Welcome to the delta California style! Over 1,000 miles of waterways lure sportsmen, boaters, and outdoor enthusiasts to the largest estuary in the western United States, surpassed nationally only by the Mississippi River Delta. For generations, the promise of lazy summer days has beckoned travelers to cruise the mighty Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers



How Birds Migrate


Author: Paul Kerlinger and Pat Archer


Description: The mysteries of migration have puzzled birders and prompted scientific inquiry for years. In this revised and updated edition, Paul Kerlinger unravels the intricacies of migration. Using case studies and illustrations, he explains the basics of flight, the effects of weather and geographical barriers, and flight strategy. Readers will learn how fast and how high birds fly, how far they go in a day, and how they navigate. This fascinating guide on bird migration makes the latest scientific findings available to birders and nature-lovers alike.



Delta Primer: A Field Guide to the California Delta


Author: Jane Wolff


San Francisco Bay: Portrait of an Estuary


Author: John Hart, David Sanger (Photographer)


Birding Northern California


Author: John Kemper



What’s included in this Road Scholar program?



Except for the occasional meal on some programs, Road Scholar programs are all-inclusive. That means there are no extra “options,” no passing the hat for tips and no surprises. From lectures and field trips to gratuities and accommodations – the price you pay up front is the price you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:


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