Tomorrow is National Hunting and Fishing Day. Held every year since 1972, National Hunting and Fishing Day celebrates outdoor sports, and how hunters and anglers contribute to conservation. Whether you are a first-timer or a seasoned sportsman or woman, your public lands are some of the best places to wet a line or bag the big one. Just ask the people at Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi, a very popular place for outdoor sports. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Located along the northeast coast of Massachusetts, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge provides feeding, resting and nesting habitat for a wide variety of migratory birds. The refuge includes more than 4,700 acres of diverse habitats – from sandy beaches and dunes to cranberry bogs, maritime forests and freshwater marshes. The most abundant habitat on the refuge is salt marsh, one of the most productive ecosystems in nature. It’s a great place to see your favorite birds as the fall migrations begin. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The violet light of sunset reflects on the water at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland, while this great blue heron concentrates on its next meal. Great blue herons live year-round in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and spend most of their waking time fishing. Growing up to 4 feet tall with a wingspan of more than 6 feet, they are graceful birds flying through the air or wading in the water. Where is your favorite place to watch great blue herons and other birds? Photo by Kaila Ferrufino (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Huron National Wildlife Refuge is made up of eight small islands three miles off the Michigan shoreline of Lake Superior. Accessible only by boat, the refuge’s forests and bog provide habitat for birds like the herring gull, cedar waxwing and bald eagle. Visitors can stroll along Huron’s lone trail and take pictures of the historic stone lighthouse, the grays and pinks of the exposed bedrock, the blues of the lake and the contrasting greens of the trees. The bedrock itself offers shutterbugs a chance to capture the unique patterns caused by boulders cutting grooves into the rock as glaciers moved slowly over the landscape 8,000 years ago. Photo by Garrett Peterson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Showers and rainbows bring coolness and color to Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming. A wide variety of birds find habitat for breeding and nesting on the refuge where the wetlands along the Green River stand out in an otherwise arid landscape. In addition to resident and migrating birds, large and small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and even bats make their homes in this lovely oasis. Photo by Tom Koerner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The baby bison at the National Bison Range Refuge Complex in Montana – often called “red dogs” because of their size and color – are growing quickly. Still not drifting too far from their mothers, they’re eating lots of spring greens and starting to form their distinctive shoulder humps. The refuge’s bison herd numbers over 300 and draws visitors year round to see these majestic animals and the beautiful landscape. Photo by Bureau of Land Management.
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware was established in 1937 as a link in a chain of refuges extending from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The refuge protects one of the largest remaining tidal salt marshes in the region, which serves as a vital feeding and resting place for migratory birds. Wildlife can be seen year round at Bombay Hook, but spring and fall offer the best opportunity to observe large numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds. Photo by Tim Williams, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The gorgeous landscape of Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma includes the delightful oasis of Treasure Lake near Elk Mountain. The refuge boasts almost 60,000 acres of natural grasslands that are now home to reintroduced species including bison, elk, prairie dogs, river otters and burrowing owls. Visitors can enjoy wildlife watching, fishing, climbing, hunting and walking among wildflower blooms. Photo by Stan Schwartz (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge in Florida is a haven for great white herons, migratory birds and other fascinating wildlife. The refuge consists of almost 200,000 acres of open water and scattered islands, and is known in the Keys as the “backcountry.” The refuge provides critical nesting, feeding and resting areas for hundreds of species of birds and sea turtles. The beaches, mangroves and sparkling blue water are favorites for the visitors who explore this beautiful and fragile place. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
It’s National Wildflower Week! Of all the unique and colorful wildflowers on public lands, few are as fascinating as the Cahaba lily. A rare type of spiderlily with striking 3-inch white flowers, the Cahaba lily requires a specialized habitat of swift water flowing over rocks with lots of sunlight. Cahaba lilies bloom from mid-May to mid-June (or Mother’s Day to Father’s Day). The best and largest populations are located at Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama. Photo by Keith Boseman (www.sharetheexperience.org).