Saturday, February 19, 2011

Nisqually Wildlife Refuge - February

Sam and I decided that we plan on going to the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge at least once a month so we can view and document the changes with the seasons.  We're are hoping to get a couple of pictures from the same general spots.  Scott suggested we get a shot of Sam each time, too.  Today was February's visit; it was a beautiful, sunny, but cold day with a bit of a breeze.

One of the first things we noticed were signs of spring on one particular kind of tree.  Yay!

This is a photo of the boardwalk taken from near the beginning of the boardwalk.  As you can see, we arrived when the tide was out.

This is pretty much the same picture taken an hour later on our way back.  The tide comes in quick!

We saw a great blue heron again.  They are pretty common at the refuge, but they still look neat.  We also caught sight of all three resident bald eagles soaring over a nearby hill.  In the wind, they were able to just hang there with their wings open, going nowhere.  A hawk also flew overhead.

We thought these kayakers were nuts.  It was cold and windy on the boardwalk.  I can't imagine how it felt right on the water.  They were fighting the incoming current and wind.  We overtook them easily.

Here's Sam with Mount Rainier in the background.  I'm hoping to remember to take this same photo each month.

Near the end of our 4 mile walk, we got our special treat for the day.  I heard something and stopped Sam to turn back.  It was a river otter that I heard splashing.  It was gathering grasses on one side of the boardwalk (just tearing into them) and swimming to the other side of the boardwalk with them.  There was a small group watching it work.  On each trip, it got to a very specific spot where it dove under the water.  We were able to follow its route by following the bubbles.  It would disappear for a moment along the bushes overhanging the shore before we caught sight of bubbles again, following them until its head popped up again.  If you look closely, you'll see it in the water just a bit to below and to the right of center (it kind of looks like a log).  I sure envied the guys with the giant lenses today.

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