This was our first stop as soon as Congress quit playing games and reopened the federal government for business on 17-Oct-13, and we weren't disappointed.
The staff is great, the preserve is well-maintained and safe-feeling, and the boardwalks/trails are excellent with just the right amount of interpretive signage.
Bird-wise we saw a lone White Ibis foraging in the swamp, Black Vultures, a Turkey Vulture, a Red-bellied Woodpecker and Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebes, several Blue Jays, American Crows, several Carolina Wrens, Eastern Bluebirds, 3 Grey Catbirds, Northern Mockingbird, a Common Yellowthroat, many Northern Cardinals, and 2 female-type Indigo Buntings.
We didn't get to see any alligators or armadillos, but we did get to see many eastern grey squirrels and swamp rabbits (but not Womp Rats, which are native only to Tatooine). And we did see part of a large water snake hiding under the water plants, plus an amazing, enormous Six-spotted Fishing Spider that looked like it could easily take on a small dog.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.