On a nice sunny day in May 2010, my hubby and I took a short drive from Vancouver, Washington to the little town of Ridgefield Washington. We were venturing off to visit the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. We first stopped at Safeway on our way out, and bought a couple of their signature sandwiches we like, added some fruit cups, and we were ready to go.
This was our first visit to the refuge, and I was excited to see all the wildlife that surrounds the refuge. I had recently seen some pretty amazing photos of the refuge from one of the guys in my photography group, so I was raring to go and shoot some photos of my own.
The Little town of Ridgefield is adorable, it reminded me of a small beach town, and it had this peaceful charm to it, I felt right at home. The drive off the freeway and around the refuge has vast areas of open farmland. But you could also see how this beautiful town was being built up fast with subdivisions. One of the small homes in the older part of town had the biggest tree I have ever seen. I did not stop and take pictures, but wished I had. Maybe I will on my next trip.
The Wildlife refuge has over 5,000 acres of habitat for birds that migrate through the region. It is an ideal resting and feeding place for a variety of species. But you can also see a variety of other wildlife also that live on the refuge. The refuge hosts some 165,000 visitors annually and has some pretty cool wildlife viewing; so don’t forget to bring your binoculars.
We decided to take the 4-mile auto tour route. During certain times of the year you are not allowed to get out of your car, but when we took the tour, we had no restrictions. You must also register and pay a park entrance fee upon arrival. If I remember correctly it was only $3.00 per car. The park also has two developed hiking trails that we did not explore on this trip.
Now I guess at different times of the year you are going to see different kinds of birds, since we went in May we did not see a huge vast majority, as a lot of the birds had already migrated. I certainly kept my eyes open for that Bald Eagle, but only saw a few Hawks flying around. We did catch a glimpse of a crane and many redwing blackbirds, ducks and one of my favorite little birds is the yellow warbler.
After we took a leisure drive along the 4-mile auto tour, we headed out to the Cathlapotle Plankhouse. This is a full-scale Chinookan Plankhouse located on the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. The Plankhouse was not open at the time we visited, but the walk to the Plankhouse from the parking lot was very nice. I do recommend stopping by and looking around.