Saturday, March 12, 2016

Hagerman Wildlife Refuge

I've been talking about visiting this park for years and I finally made it today. It is so close to home it was really a short easy ride but the landscape was just beautiful.

I felt like God was showing me all the greatest designs of nature with a light that changed through the day always bringing me another amazing view of the spring landscape. I have not had this feeling of peace and simultaneous excitement standing behind a camera in quite a long while.

First of all, the greens were so rich and the storm that wrestled with the sky all day made the most amazing light and shadows that changed as quickly as I could shoot. I haven't had this feeling of excitement watching birds in a long time too.

I found a field of rich green grass that held large pockets of mallards, pintails, buffelheads and even a few dowitchers. I was able to sit on the side of the road and just enjoy the wildlife without feeling I was in anyones' way and yet I didn't feel like I was so remote as to feel vulnerable.

There were flocks of song sparrows, meadowlarks and the largest group of cedar waxwings I've seen in a while. There were cardinals, crows, herons and egrets and I noticed a flock of white pelicans that surveyed the sky in the midst of a darkening storm.

I stopped by the visitor center and the people there were not only proud of their park but they were able to tell me where a large flock of waterfowl were. I got a magnet, a beautiful magnet at that-hand painted I believe.

I got to walk on the Meadow Pond Trail but I wasn't up for the full 5 mile walk, I did get to see the first pond. I was completely alone except for two couples that I saw along the way. It was one of those amazing moments where you are emersed in wildlife, the sounds of frogs on the roadsides and cardinals calling along the fence rows.

The trail is actually a very old train track so it's wide and quite easy to walk, on either side there is water both from the pond and from standing water from recent rains. Along the way I was able to photograph red admiral and sulphur butterflies. All of the yellow wildflowers were alive with the sound of honey bees and I forgot how much I missed that sound.

I will definitely get back to Hagerman for another adventure and believe it will probably be a regular place for me to go to get away and enjoy nature. I would highly recommend this place both for its close proximity and for the beautiful, natural place it offers, I will be back for spring migration.

Hagerman Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

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