My mother is in town visiting.
So I took her to the wastewater treatment plant.
I really know how to show my guests a good time.
Really, though, Everett’s wastewater treatment plant, and surrounding areas, is one of my favorite things about Everett.
Because of my mother, I adore birds. Pretty much everything I know about birds, I learned from her. I’ve been using binoculars for so long, I don’t remember learning how. It was like learning to walk. Something you just did.
The area around the treatment plant is a wonderful spot for watching birds. We parked our car and within 30 seconds were happily scanning the ponds to see what we could find.
The star of the entire day, however, was a bittern.
Bitterns are masters of disguise and can be extremely difficult to spot.
We spotted this one because a photographer with a truly gigantic camera lens was hanging out nearby, watching it.
The bittern seemed totally undisturbed by our presence. It was just feet off the road, in a low, wet area full of cattails.
We stood and watched it for a long, long time. We even got to see it catch a fish.
I also nearly stepped on a fascinating, golden told. No idea what it was. (Anyone want to tell what toads around here are golden? Email me.)
When we returned to our car, we walked by the bittern again. It was in the same spot, but had turned around so we could mostly see its back. It was even more camouflaged than before. We could have easily walked right by it.
I’m so glad we didn’t, especially since I got to enjoy watching it with the person who taught me that birds are really cool.
But doesn’t it stink?
I go to the wastewater treatment plant to walk or run a lot. Whenever I mention this people always ask me, “But doesn’t it stink?” Well, yes, on some days it does smell a bit. But the strongest smell is right where you park your car. A few minutes’ walk away, you won’t even notice it. Please don’t let this deter you from checking out one of the coolest places in Everett.
To get there
From Everett, head north on Broadway. Take the first right after crossing the Snohomish River, onto 28th Place NE (this is the same way to get to the Everett Animal Shelter and Langus Riverfront Park). Take the first right onto Smith Island Road. At a three-way stop, take a left. Follow the road past Langus Riverfront Park. (You can also park anywhere along here and follow the paved walkway, which eventually will reach Spencer Island.) When the road takes a sharp left, follow if as it turns to gravel.
Park on the right side of the road is a small lot. Walk the rest of the way down the road. Cross a bridge to reach Spencer Island.
Note: Dogs are allowed on leash on the north half of the island. They are not allowed on the south half. Also beware that duck hunters use the north half of the island during waterfowl hunting season.