It's a Great Day to Bird

Little Pend Oreille, Seedskadee, Arapaho NWR …. Oh My

I love National Wildlife Refuges.  During our year-round trip across the United States in 2013-14 we visited 122 NWRs.  I got to add another three refuges to my NWR Life List – Little Pend Oreille (Washington), Seedskadee (Wyoming), and Arapaho (Colorado).

Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge

Pend Oreille is pronounced ponderay – go figure.  I really liked this refuge and would like to come back and spend more time.  And this refuge has camping.  Woohoo!!!  We didn’t stay here because we had to keep moving, but will definitely be back – preferably in the early summer when the birds are singing.  Not much activity when we were there.  We did the 10.0 mile auto tour route, but it was a quick tour.

This refuge is located in northeastern Washington about 70 miles north of Spokane, and consists of 40,198 acres.  The Refuge was established in 1939 to protect and provide a breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.


Yes, me in a skirt


Canada Goose Family


Nice wetlands. There was a lot of bird activity here.


Flycatcher sp.  Any ideas on what kind?


Mallards sharing a log

For more information on this refuge check out:

Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge

The next national wildlife refuge we visited was the 27,230 acre Seedskadee NWR in southwest Wyoming, which “protects a mosaic of riparian, wetland, and upland shrub habitats along 36 miles of the Green River”.  This was a first time visit for us.  We visited on a Sunday, but this is a pretty remote refuge so not a lot of visitation – mostly people fishing the Green River.  The Green River is famous as the oasis of green and respite for the early pioneer travelers.  The refuge does have an auto route.

The Seedskadee NWR was established in 1965 “for the establishment of wildlife habitat development areas to offset the loss of wildlife habitat resulting from reservoir development in the Colorado River Drainage”.   Love those mitigation projects resulting in the establishment of wildlife refuges – be it state or federal.

This refuge is an oasis in the high desert of Wyoming.  Our biggest surprise here was the number of Common Nighthawks “hawking” for food.  We counted seven at one time.  I always thought they hunted in the night.


There were a number of wetland ponds adjacent to the Green River.


Bald Eagle Pair


High desert scrublands are part of the refuge too…


… where we spotted several Sandhill Cranes. Of course the cranes were near the wetland areas.


Herons on a dead tree

For more information on this refuge check out:

 Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge

This refuge by far was the ‘ birdiest’ refuge.  The 23,464 acre refuge, established in 1967 primarily to “provide suitable nesting and rearing habitat for migratory birds”.  This refuge has two different auto tour routes.


Lots of wetlands on the refuge. I love wetlands.


Plenty of Prairie Dogs around.


Baby coots abound.


Northern Shoveler female and ducklings.


Swainson’s Hawk in flight.


Western Meadowlark


Plenty of American White Pelicans flying into and out of the wetlands.


Prairie Dog family


Canada Goose


This adult American Coot was trying to drown this coot chick. I don’t think this chick was the progeny of this adult, because it was substantially smaller than the chick it was feeding. Sad to watch.  As far as we know the chick was driven off and the adult did not succeed in killing the chick.


Duckling feeding


Greater Sage Grouse Hen.  We flushed about six hens as we were driving on the auto tour route leading to the refuge headquarters.


Ground Squirrel. These guys liked the roadbeds for their homes. Some entrance holes could result in serious vehicle damage if you drove over (or into) one.


Horned Lark


Pronghorn – with fluffy rumps


My favorite shorebird – American Avocet


American White Pelicans hanging out with Canada Geese


Nest at Refuge Headquarters

There were a lot of Pronghorn on the refuge.  We also saw a Badger.  That was unexpected, but delightful.  Not a bird, but still special.

For more information on the refuge check out:

Those were the only refuges we visited on our travels from Alaska to Arizona, however we did visit  four National Parks.  So, up next – Yellowstone National Park (and some special sightings between the park and Seedskadee NWR).  Stay tuned….

Its A Great Day to Bird


1 Comment

  1. Nina Faust

    You are getting some great shots with your new camera!

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