Friday, June 12, 2009

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

Today I visited the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge just outside of Olympia.

The Nisqually River Delta, a biologically rich and diverse area at the southern end of Puget Sound, supports a variety of habitats. Here, the freshwater of the Nisqually River combines with the saltwater of Puget Sound to form an estuary rich in nutrients and detritus. These nutrients support a web of sea life - the benefits which extend throughout Puget Sound and beyond.

Nisqually Refuge has become an increasingly important place for wildlife, especially migratory birds. Western sandpipers and other shorebirds feed and rest on the estuarine mudflats and marshes. Ducks and geese feed and rest on the freshwater ponds and marshes.

Spring brings many songbirds - goldfinches, warblers, and tree swallows can be seen in the forests and fields. Woodpeckers, hawks, and small mammals are found in the woodlands, croplands, and grasslands. Mixed conifer forests on the bluffs above the delta provide perches for bald eagles and osprey, and a nesting site for a colony of great blue herons. Salmon and steelhead use the estuary for passage to upriver areas.

It is a great place for hiking, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, fishing, and environmental education to learn more about the natural world and the importance of places rich in beauty and biological diversity.

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