Sunday, May 09, 2010

Yesterday we hiked through the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge with members of the Spokane Audubon Association, who were more than generous with their spotting scopes. We saw the elusive and rare Trumpeter swans in flight; our favorites, Yellow-headed Blackbirds perched on cattails, Ruddy Ducks with brilliant blue beaks, and a Great Horned Owl with two little owlets.

Best of all, we hiked through these wetlands and Ponderosa Pine forests, surrounded by just-blooming Camas and lots of bird song. We surprised a Western Bluebird (male) popping into a nest and spotted a very fat coyote on a faraway field. Apparently winter was mild here, and hunting was good. Still, a few minutes later, that coyote circled around and scouted our group, close enough to make us a little nervous. It was fatter than any coyote I've ever seen, fat enough to be taken for a wolf. Don't mess with mother nature.

Five hours of walking and sighting maybe 30 new birds brought us home with sore feet and a renewed appreciation for wetlands. Enjoy the pictures!

Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge