Ridgefield National Wildlife Preserve
Sunday morning dawned with bright sunshine and blue skies, but by the time we hit the road, high clouds had grayed the sky and eliminated most shadows. Still, the temperature was pleasant and the air was calm. We headed south, along the I-5 freeway toward Portland. We had a couple of errands to run first, before heading to our destination, the Ridgefield National Wildlife Preserve, on wetlands along the shore of the Columbia River about 50 miles south of home.
Heading south on I-5 along the Columbia River. Thank a fast shutter speed for this photo taken while driving 70 mph.
There are two sections in the Preserve and they are separated by the town of Ridgefield, Washington. One contains a replica of a cedar plankhouse of the type that Lewis and Clark found here in Cathlapotle Village of the Chinook people. There is also a 2-mile wetlands trail with views of nearby Carty Lake.
The other section and our destination was the 4.2 mile River "S" discovery auto tour in and around the wetlands. There is one 1.5 mile hiking trail in this section, open May-September. An auto tour is just the ticket for someone like me who has limited mobility and many perfectly fit people enjoy it as well.
Entry into the River "S" unit of the preserve is by way of a rustic one-lane plank bridge.
Fun signs are posted along the drive as a reminder to visitors to stay in their vehicle.
The first thing we spotted upon entering the preserve was a River Otter. He came bounding over a little mound of grass, slid into the water, dove and came up with a little fish, which he hardly chewed at all, then disappeared under the water not to be seen again. Unfortunately, the little fellow was moving too fast for me to get a shot on full zoom before he disappeared. Here is a photo I found on the University of Michigan website:
Some views of the preserve:
Every time I visit the Ridgefield National Wildlife Preserve, there are many different birds to see. Some are in residence year-round, others come just for the winter or to nest, and still others just stop off for a rest on their way to distant lands.