Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge in Winter


On the way home from Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Jon and I stopped for a short visit at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. My mother and I had visited on the hottest day of July, when no animals in their right minds would be outside in the scorching sun.

This time, the refuge was transformed. The huge grass field from July was now under several inches of water, flooded by seasonal rainfall and the tidal system. There were ducks and geese all over, enjoying their winter feeding grounds. Visitors can look at the birds from the viewing platform, or can walk further out on the boardwalk. We did both, but there weren’t very many birds out further on the open water of the field. Plus, it was cold and windy (although not really raining), so we only took a brief walk before heading back to dry land.

A Great Blue Heron at Nisqually

A Great Blue Heron at Nisqually

On land and in the water close to shore were lots of American Wigeons, Mallards, and Canada Geese (or maybe Dusky Geese, who knows…).

There were lots of American Wigeons at Nisqually

There were lots of American Wigeons at Nisqually

This goose was having a great time eating or playing in the fluff of these reeds.

This goose was having a great time eating or playing in the fluff of these reeds.

I spotted a white bird far off in the distance – I wasn’t sure if it was a bird or a plastic bag at first (my far vision really is getting crummy these days – I blame my mom). I was able to zoom in and get a closer look (and some photos) at a white goose. I identified it later with my bird book and the internet – a Snow Goose! He was hanging around with several ducks, and it was odd to see him without any other Snow Geese. I hope he wasn’t injured…

The Lone Snow Goose on our visit.

The Lone Snow Goose on our visit.

We couldn’t hang out too long though, as we still had a long drive home.

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