Nahant Marsh provides a little nature in Quad Cities

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We loved the birds we saw during our visit to Nahant Marsh.

Located a few minutes from downtown Davenport, Nahant Marsh provides visitors the serenity one finds with nature. The wetlands allow people to view wildlife and walk trails among beautiful trees and plants.

As we walked along the trails with our guide Amy, she randomly pointed out items, such as insects Lisa and I couldn’t see but she noticed. She even mentioned a snake – probably a garter – had just crossed our path. As someone deathly scared of snakes, I froze for a moment, until she assured me it was to move on.

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A frog we saw along a trail appears to have survived a predator. He was left with a wound on his right rear leg.

Nahant Marsh is home to about 4,000 species of plants, Amy said. About 200 types of birds will call the marsh home during a season. We saw our share of birds during our visit. The marsh was actually having a bird count completed during our visit. A robin had been caught in the netting, so a boy scout leader slowly approached the bird to help free it. He handled the situation like he was a surgeon operating on a critical patient. The care he took for the bird was impressive and much appreciated.

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A man works to free a bird caught in netting along a trail.

The marsh provides some beautiful views of nature. We walked along beaten paths to check out a wooden blind, where we observed a blue heron along the opposite shore standing atop a muskrat hut. I’m a fan of the tall bird. He eventually took off, spreading his wings and gracefully flying to his its next stop.

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A blue heron uses a muskrat hut as a perch.

Nahant Marsh is an impressive result of a sad chapter in Davenport’s history. Once the location of a gun club, dangerous levels of lead were found in the marsh. The smallest dose of lead is dangerous to water creatures, including fish, birds and turtles. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and local organizations worked together to save the marsh and create a nature area. The marsh was designated a Superfund area because of the lead levels and danger to habitat.

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Nahant Marsh is minutes from downtown Davenport.

The marsh has been open as a nature attraction since the early 2000s. It includes an education center and set of trails. The education center sponsors several activities that encourage people to learn about area nature. Trails are open from early morning until dusk. We saw several people walking them, as well as nature photographers looking for that perfect photo.

Nahant Marsh consists of 265 acres among more than 500 acres of wetlands complex. The wetlands act as runoff for the Mississippi River. The marsh helps control river flooding. The marsh helps control erosion and prevents soil from being carried away.

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The wetlands had plenty of water during our visit. But, the area could be dry during late summer.

We loved our tour of Nahant Marsh. We encourage you to visit the marsh when in the Quad Cities. It’s a beautiful area.

For more information on Nahant Marsh, please visit or