"Not Much Here During Dry Season" Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge by glabah

This national wildlife refuge is the type of place that is heavily populated by migrating birds and other wildlife in the winter months. However, you will also find a wildlife here in the summer and during dry periods. It is, however, much more limited in its location in the summer months.

The highest point in the refuge is a small hill that is part of the base of Ankeny Hill. It is only 50 feet or so above the rest of the reserve, though the hill continues as privately owned land up to several hundred feet further upward.

Despite the very small difference in elevation, there is a great view of the coast range, but there are no wetlands here to see. Entry to the reserve past the viewpoint is prohibited during the winter months, in order to protect the wildlife.

The best places to see the wildlife are further south and west. Along Wintel Road and Buena Vista Road, where there are several other places to stop. The Eagle Marsh overlook is just east of the intersection of Buena Vista Road and Sidney Road, and is a great place to start your visit as there is almost always something in this marsh.

The Ankeny Hill Viewpoint, however, is the only location that has a restroom of any sort (and a somehwat primitive one at that).

The name "Eagle Marsh" is reasonably appropriate, as there are bald eagles that regularly visit the trees along the western edge of the marsh. From time to time they will fly over the marsh and give all the Canada geese a scare that sends them into the air by the thousands.

However, the eagles are not always easy to see. Sometimes they hide in the tree branches (but in winter, when the most Canada geese are around, the trees don't provide very good cover). Also, in many cases the eagles are very far away from the viewing shelter, and so may only be seen through telephoto equipment of some sort or another.

Also, from time to time they hunt ducks and geese in various other marshes on the refuge. Look for them particularly in the trees along the eastern edge of the pintail marsh from the Wintel Road overlook.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Fair amount of variety of bird life in the wetlands areas, even in the summer months. Little traffic on roads near refuge give a peaceful experience most of the time.
  • Cons:Not much at all in the open fields except in the winter months, which are primarily habitat for wintering dusky Canada geese. All-year trails are very limited in scope. Little shelter and QUITE HOT in summer months.
  • In a nutshell:If you are in the area, it is worth a stop to see what happens to be visiting the refuge.
  • Last visit to Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge: Jan 2012
  • Intro Updated Jan 11, 2012
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