The Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge

Nutria (Myocastor coypus) Ridgefield NWR Clark County WA

The Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge is less than an hour from where I live so it is possible for me to go there often. A four mile auto loop gives access to nature for anyone who is mobile. In fact all instructional signs ask you to stay in your automobile, to use your car as a blind, to observe without disturbing the wildlife that uses the refuge for a sanctuary, not from predators but from man.

My son refers to the refuge territory as a preserve for invasive species. When you see the numbers of people, nutria,   Himalaya blackberries, Teasel, and Reed  Canary Grass you will understand his cynical comment.

Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) Ridgefield NWR Clark County WA

I prefer the “off” days when other users stay home. Weekend days are poor choices as are any holidays. Even on off days there can be enough traffic to make the experience miserable. But, if you have patience you can reap rewards. On the last trip I saw deer, three coyotes (one up close and personal), a male and female hooded merganser, several bufflehead ducks, numerous Tundra swans, a Northern Harrier, a Northern Pintail, the list goes on… I also watched a Red Tail Hawk take a coot (rail) out of the water. It was quite a day.

I would hope for more controls on the invasive species even if made by volunteers.


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