Friends’ Newsletter – December, 2021
Willapa Wildlife Refuge Updates
We’re well into fall, which means that our winter migrants are arriving in droves. Cold weather has driven them from their breeding ground in Canada and Alaska, and the relatively mild temperatures during a Willapa winter are quite balmy in comparison. This makes it a great time to keep your eyes open for the seasonal visitors to our area.
Waterfowl are probably the most noticeable winter birds at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. Willapa Bay and other waterways play host to a variety of ducks, geese, and swans. Watch for magnificent trumpeter swans and their slightly smaller but still impressive tundra swan cousins. Gaggles of geese abound, including greater white-fronted geese, cackling geese, brant geese, snow geese, and more. And of course there are over a dozen duck species to be found, from buffleheads and goldeneyes to northern shovelers, pintails, and both American and Eurasian wigeons, among many others. Make sure that you head for the bay and its tributaries when the tide is high, as that is when waterfowl are most in evidence.
Of course, low tide has its wonders as well. Shorebirds flock to the tidal mudflats in search of food. Look for big flocks of dunlin and other little “peeps”, as they are the most abundant shorebirds to be found. They may be mingling near both lesser and greater yellowlegs, semipalmated plovers, and red-necked phalaropes.
For a complete list of birds that may be found on or near Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, click here [link to https://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/Region_1/NWRS/Zone_2/Willapa_Complex/Willapa/Documents/Willapa%20Complex%20Bird%20Checklist%20March2021.pdf ]
Rebecca Lexa, MA, OMN,
Foraging and Natural History Classes
Convergence Art Table Project, by Pat Welle
The Convergence Art Table Project is taking shape at the new headquarters overlooking Willapa Bay. The foundation and bases for these four table and stool sets were poured in September and October. Artist Gary Carpenter is refining the designs for the table and stool tops – each will highlight multiple species found in refuge environments, and will be created using terrazzo, a composite made up of colored chips of marble, granite, glass, and shells.
The title of the art table project – Convergence – refers to the intersection of three environments: the forest, the coastal beaches, and the estuary, and the interdependence of each of them.
The art tables are set overlooking the south end of Willapa Bay within the edges of the forest. This space will provide visitors to the reserve an overview of the species, the environments, and the connections between them. Individuals and groups can converge to share ideas, and learn about individual species, how they are important to one another, and our role in sustaining their health.
The table installation will be completed in the spring when the drier weather allows final construction of the table and stool tops. An interpretive sign and native vegetation around the tables will also be added to the final site.
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