Washington Estuary technician, Leah Rensel, checking in! It’s been a while, folks, and I’ve been drowning in datasheets instead of tromping around outside this summer. As the fall approaches, I am once again in the field and just in time for the fall migration. I’m excited to see the occasional Broad-winged Hawk or Rough-legged Hawk that migrate through Skagit County starting in October. In the meantime, I’m on the hunt for shorebirds and waterfowl at my estuary restoration sites.

A brand new dike has been installed at Fir Island, turning 131 acres of former agricultural land into tidal marsh. This type of habitat is rare but vital for salmon and, we suspect, migratory birds. My surveys started back up on August 1, a few days before the old dike was removed and my site flooded.

While I was not present at the breaching of the dike, it sounded like a very involved event; donors, legislators, and WDFW staff gathered to witness this final piece of the restoration process and to mark the importance of such environmental efforts. Over 100 years ago, this area was transformed from miles of marsh to swaths agricultural fields and now we return it to its original condition. Allow me a moment to be a philosopher instead of a biologist and say that it’s a very poetic notion: the wheels of time keep turning and, just like the seasons, we have returned to where we started.