This afternoon to take advantage of a break from the rain and real estate we grabbed our camera to take a walk in the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge next to our house. Though the trees and grassy areas are mostly still bare from the winter, the Osprey nests in the refugee were everywhere.
The Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge is made up of 644 acres of land that was reclaimed from the government after an Army research site closed down in 1994 directly on the Occoquan River. About 50% of the land has been reclaimed as a natural wetland and has become a wildlife refuge for a number of species the most obvious being the Osprey.
We noticed at least 8 pairs of Osprey building their nests in the trees and the roosts which have been developed for them to use. Throw in the sounds of a few dozen geese, blue herons, woodpecker and a variety of smaller birds and you can sense that spring is in the air. In fact the refuge is home to 220 species of birds, abundant wild tailed deer and 65 species of butterflies have been documented within the refugee.
Since we live next door ito the refuge in Belmont Bay we have the privilege of watching the Osprey glide past our window and grab nesting material with their talons without stopping. Occasionally they pass by with a fresh fish on their way back to their nesting areas.
The foresight of Prince William County planners to set keep this valuable property out of the hands of developers means that residents from around the area can see how valuable the conservation of the Occoquan River is to our area. If you live in the Woodbridge area check out this often overlooked refuge just off Route 1 at the end of Dawson Beach road. Walk along the waterfront and through the wetlands and enjoy the sounds of spring.
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