Saturday, March 22, 2014

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge 3/20/14

The Nisqually delta has recently (as in 5 years ago...) been allowed to flood and return to it's original state as a really big, wet mud puddle with a range of aquatic to semi-aquatic habitats. It's a really great spot to watch birds, and see western Washington in all it's muddy brown, green, and blue glory.

Though the dike that had been holding back the tides was removed in 2009, it still looks to me like nature has a ways to go in reclaiming the land, and it will be interested to watch over the years as the habitat shifts and develops. I expect that there will be more erosion of the sediment/sediment, and I'm curious to see how the vegetation coverage shifts as conservation groups get more or less funding.

There is currently a trail + boardwalk that is about 2 miles long, depending on how many of the side trails and loops you take. For only being 4 miles round trip, it sure seems like a long trail, but perhaps that's because it's so flat. Also, if I were more of a birder and less of a hiker, it'd probably seem more interesting overall. I bet if I were a birder it would seem like one of the more awesome places in Washington state.

For the time of year, it was surprisingly warm and sunny. Some of the deciduous trees have started to break bud, but most of the vegetation we saw was non-native reed canary grass. We were able to see lots of Canada Geese, Common Mallards, a wealth of Sea Gulls, and some less common duck species, tree swallows, and many sparrows.

Personal rating of the trip: 3/5, with probable improvement depending on the time of year and one's interest in birds.

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