165,000 Acres All to Myself – Stillwater Wildlife Refuge

I had an wonderful time today out at the Stillwater Wildlife Refuge about 70 miles east of Reno. I had only visited this area once years ago before I became interested in photography. I usually don’t think about the Stillwater as a good place to photograph as hunting is allowed 7 days a week during the waterfowl season and it is too hot in the summer. I just needed to get my timing right is all. Today I drove all over this huge refuge and did not see another soul the whole day!
There are several large ponds and lakes dotting the sagebrush plain. The water is the last remnants of ancient Lake Lahontan that covered most of northern Nevada 15,000 years ago. Tundra swans were present as well as ducks and geese. Many bodies of water were dried up, further evidence of our ongoing drought. We started off so promising this fall with good snowfall but January and February have been pretty dry. It is going to be another tough year for wildlife here this summer.
I was disappointed that I did not see any deer, antelope or coyotes but there were plenty of birds. I got the best photos I have ever been able to take of a Meadowlark. They are so skittish but this one stayed put for quite awhile as he sang his spring song. My earliest memory is hearing a Meadowlark like this one when I could not have been more than two out behind our house in the sagebrush. It always takes me back to hear one.
I saw lots of Tundra Swans and sparrows and some herons that were flew off before I could get any pictures. The birds were all very wary no doubt as a result of the recently closed hunting season. I was hoping to see snow geese but they all seemed to have moved on.
I will definitely make more trips out to Stillwater. It was an amazing experience to have it all to myself. I don’t know if I could possibly get that lucky again but I think with 165,000 acres if one or two other people showed up it would not be too crowded would it? πŸ˜‰

21 thoughts on “165,000 Acres All to Myself – Stillwater Wildlife Refuge

  1. These are wonderful photos! Photos of nature are my favorite and you do such a great job capturing amazing moments. πŸ™‚

  2. Your Meadow Lark is my Bobwhite, Alison. We had an old orchard next to our housing development and I heard their “bobwhite” call all the time as a child. We don’t have many of them here anymore, mostly because the vast grasslands they require are gone. Maybe one day I’ll get to hear the Meadowlark’s spring song.

  3. These are fantastic captures Alison, and what wonderful light you had. This looks like a fantastic place to explore and who knows what you will find. I love the two sparrows, and of course the meadowlark. Beautiful!

  4. nice – what a serene place – your first and third photos are most interesting to me i capyure trees sometimes – and play with them in Photoshop- and the 3rd image has such texture in the background as to touch – thank you

      1. i spent more time in your gallery – quite impressive – birds are not an easy capture and yet you present them nicely – i shall spend more time

  5. It’s a wonderful place. Years ago I edited a program for the BBC on the dangers it faces, with agriculture taking more water than the system can bear. I’m heading out again in a month, since one routing of the old Lincoln Highway ran from Westgate up to Stillwater (in an attempt to avoid the dreaded Fallon Sink, known to trap automobiles.)
    You have a very nice site.

    1. Hey thanks! Very cool that you have taken such an in depth look at the challenges the Refuge faces. Thanks for visiting and commenting. I will follow your Lincoln Highway journey with interest. πŸ™‚

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