Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge

After a very long drive I arrived here at 7am to a nearly empty parking lot. I didn’t recognize much until I was well into my 7 hour walk. There are open and stocked pit toilets at the trailhead, but bring your own sanitizer.

The trails are wide and mostly gravelled. Birdsong, quite literally, fills the air with every step. Something for everyone here. I checked e-bird before I left and the bird list was long and wide. While I saw just a fraction of what is here at the refuge I had the best walk. There are a few miles of trail, and I managed to spend all seven hours here in diverse, new-to-me places.

The first couple of hours were spent in solitude. I never really know how much I need that until I become mindfully aware of the company I am keeping. Birds, birds and more birds. The last couple hours were a mix of birdsong and conversation. I love seeing birders and photographers on the trail. I met two women on my walk that I hope to run into again.

While the black-throated gray warbler evaded me this trip, I did add another bird to my growing life list: a Western Kingbird. All in all, a big thumbs-up to this newly reopened refuge. Worth the drive. On my way home I stopped at Nisqually for a leg stretch and discovered a new sparrow nest along the boardwalk. Nothing much better than two tiny mouths and an attentive Mama.

A Wood Peewee
Western Kingbird
Bullocks Oriole
Lazuli Bunting
House Finch
Killdeer, displaying
Purple Martin
Lincoln Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow babies
Song Sparrow