Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

Last week I spent a couple of hours at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge which is just a fifteen minute drive south of us. The Refuge is an estuary formed by the Nisqually River as it flows from Mt. Rainier into Puget Sound.


The area was diked in the early 1900s to enable farming in the rich alluvial soil. Since most estuaries in Washington have been filled, dredged, or developed, the area was set aside in 1974 as a wildlife preserve. In 2009 the dike system was removed, reconnecting almost 800 acres with the tides of Puget Sound.


There are many trails and two miles of boardwalk. The boardwalk first passes through a woodsy area with fresh water ponds and lots of songbirds. Altogether there are over 300 species of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians in the Nisqually NWR.


Lily pads

Lily pads

After leaving the forest, the boardwalk skirts a pair of barns, left over from farming days.

Twin Barns

Twin Barns

At this point, the walk starts over the newly created wetlands.


I happened to be there during low tide. I’ll plan the next visit when the tide is high to see the contrast.


The observation platform at the end of the boardwalk. Two miles out; two miles back.


Lots of birders come here to work on their life list.


I saw these two guys on the way back. If I could figure out what they were, I might be able to start my own life list!

_MG_4731-2 _MG_4727-2




Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge — 4 Comments

  1. The first bird is a common egret. I think the 2nd one is a juvenile, but I’m guessing.