Ouray National Wildlife Refuge is on the Green River near an historic Ute Indian community called Ouray, named after a respected Ute leader.
Expansive wetlands were noted here back in 1869 when John Wesley Powell floated down the Green River and explored the area.
Now the refuge is managed as a series of diked ponds that are flooded artificially in spring to provide wetlands for migratory birds. The Green River has been dammed upstream at Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the area no longer floods naturally.
Desert grasslands and sage, populated by antelope, deer, prairie dogs, and jackrabbits, (and sometimes elk in the winter) surround the refuge marshes. To the north, you can see the snow-covered Uintas, rising to over 13,000 feet.
In the marshes, waterfowl are abundant.
On a recent walk, we saw Great Blue Heron,
flocks of these little birds, which I think are Wilson's phalarope, and numerous geese and ducks.In my next post, we'll stroll under the big old cottonwoods that grow along the river and see what we can find there.
Many thanks to those who checked on my blog and emailed while we were gone. We're not quite back in the saddle, literally, but we will be soon.
It's good to be home!