Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon

May 9, 2013 – Ridgefield NWR – 43 New Photos & 2 Videos

In my previous posting (May 1), I went out to my local refuge and shot the 1.4x II extender attached to my Canon 400mm f5.6L lens.  Today I took off the extender and used the bare 400mm f5.6L lens, which is my typical set up.  I’ll give the 1.4x III a try next time.

It was another unseasonably sunny day in the Pacific Northwest.  There was lots of springtime wildlife activity at Ridgefield including a four-legged surprise.


Here’s a series of shots of an American Bittern.  It didn’t catch anything while I was watching it but it did rough up its feathers for me.  (7:03 a.m.)  ISO 3200

_X5A2554-Edit20130509RNWR   american bittern

_X5A2571-Edit20130509RNWR  american bittern

_X5A2576-Edit20130509RNWR  american bittern

This is the time of year Marsh Wrens perch on cattails and sing away.  In the second shot it looks like he is ducking!   (7:50)   ISO 3200

_X5A2581-Edit20130509RNWR  marsh wren

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Here’s a different Marsh Wren that got a hold of some nesting materials.   (7:53)  ISO 2000

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He wasn’t happy about dropping the material.

_X5A2666-Edit20130509RNWR   marsh wren


So he got some more!

_X5A2703-Edit20130509RNWR   marsh wren


A Great Blue Heron takes flight.   (7:59)   ISO 2000

_X5A2710-Edit20130509RNWR   great blue heron


This Green-winged Teal was searching for food in the shallow muck.   (8:22)   ISO 2000

_X5A2739-Edit20130509RNWR   green-winged teal


This was my first time to the refuge since the Great Horned Owl owlets had fledged.  Here’s the proud mother although she was far away and the photo is not very good quality.    (8:32)   ISO 2000

_X5A2751-Edit20130509RNWR  great horned owl


This is Yellow-headed Blackbird season and this fellow posed for me.   (8:52)    ISO 2000

_X5A2771-Edit20130509RNWR  yellow-headed blackbird


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When I came across this Pied-billed Grebe, he was about ready to fall asleep and hardly moved a muscle.    (8:55)   ISO 2000

_X5A2792-Edit20130509RNWR   pied-billed grebe


It wasn’t long before he broke into song though!    (8:56)   ISO 2000

_X5A2808-Edit20130509RNWR   pied-billed grebe


Here’s a video of the grebe calling out.


This is the same Yellow-headed Blackbird as shown above.  He was very photogenic!    (9:25)   ISO 2000

_X5A2853-Edit20130509RNWR   yellow-headed blackbird

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Not my best shot of this bird, but it’s been a while since I have had an opportunity to get a photo of the Brown Creeper.  So I’ll take almost anything at this point!    (9:36)   ISO 1600

_X5A2860-Edit20130509RNWR   brown creeper


Here is a FAR AWAY shot (heavy crop) of one of the two Great Horned Owl owlets.  Unfortunately, this one, I believe, is the only surviving one.  No one I have talked to has seen the second one since a few days after fledging.  It’s likely a predator got to it.   (9:53)   ISO 1600

_X5A2916-Edit20130509RNWR  great horned owlet


There are a gazillion Tree Swallows flying around the refuge at this time of year.  This is one of them.   (9:57)   ISO 1600

_X5A2931-Edit20130509RNWR  tree swallow



My surprise of the day was when I spotted this Mink in the road.  He was working the right-side brush and would dart out into the road every once in a while.  (At this point, I was out of my truck and on foot).  At one point he chased a rabbit out of the grass only five feet in front of me.  The rabbit ran by me, running for his life, but when the mink exited the grass after the rabbit, it saw me and came to a screeching halt.  It headed back into the grass as fast as it came out.  (10:08)   ISO 1600

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_X5A2981-Edit20130509RNWR    Mink

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Here’s another Marsh Wren.  Can’t resist taking their picture when they pose like this.    (10:27)   ISO 1600

_X5A3000-Edit20130509RNWR   marsh wren


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I had stopped my truck and was shooting something else out the passenger side window when I noticed this fellow jump up on a cable out to my left.  He then jumped onto a nearby post.  I think these are the ‘easiest’ shots I’ve ever had of the Common Yellowthroat.  (10:32)    ISO 1600

_X5A3009-Edit20130509RNWR   common yellowthroat _X5A3039-Edit20130509RNWR   common yellowthroat


Later, I was treated to a show by a couple of mature Bald Eagles.  They appeared to be hunting ducks or coots as they swooped down near the ground.  But both came up with nesting materials–not food.    (10:39)   ISO 1600

_X5A3070-Edit20130509RNWR  bald eagle

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Here are a pair of Wood Ducks.  The female was taking it easy resting on a log while the male was keeping a close watch on his girl.  (10:59)   ISO 1600

_X5A3132-Edit-Edit20130509RNWR  wood duck

The male Wood Duck.    (11:00)   ISO 1600

_X5A3156-Edit20130509RNWR  wood duck



I have no idea what kind of flower this is but I thought it looked nice against the water backdrop.    (11:22)  ISO 1000



_X5A3168-Edit20130509RNWR  flower


A Bald Eagle flies high above me.   (11:26)   ISO 800

_X5A329320130509RNWR   bald eagle


Another easy bird to photograph is the Savannah Sparrow.  They are all over the place and relatively happy about letting me take their picture.   (11:34)   ISO 800

_X5A3315-Edit20130509RNWR   savannah sparrow

_X5A3335-Edit20130509RNWR  savannah sparrow


I stopped at a spot where there were 5 or 6 Canada Geese out in the water with their chicks swimming along with them.   They were  taking turns exhibiting a behavior where an adult would paddle about 50 feet away from its mate, then turn around facing the mate and “running” as fast as it could toward the other bird.  Maybe they were showing off in front of the kids??  I’m not sure but they all took a turn at it.   (11:43)   ISO 800

_X5A3399-Edit20130509RNWR  canada goose


I happened upon a European Starling nest very close to the road.  In the first two shots you can see a third small beak near the bottom of the tree cavity.  I’m afraid that little one was not getting his share of the food.    (12:19 p.m.)  ISO 1000

_X5A3450-Edit20130509RNWR  starling and chicks _X5A3458-Edit20130509RNWR  starling and chicks _X5A3460-Edit20130509RNWR  starling and chicks

Here’s a video.  Mom is shown at the beginning and the rest of the video is the chicks.  This shows the third little chick better than the photos but I don’t have a good feeling about its chances.



And yet another look at the photogenic Marsh Wren.   (1:08)  ISO 1250


_X5A3551-Edit20130509RNWR  marsh wren _X5A3539-Edit20130509RNWR  marsh wren


I got ready to leave the refuge for the day and drove across the access bridge.  I was almost to the end of the bridge when I looked at the shore of the river below and noticed a River Otter.  I drove to the end of the bridge and parked.  Heading back to the bridge on foot, I caught the otter just below me as it was about to swim underneath the bridge.  Not a great shot but an interesting vantage point.    (1:28)   ISO 1000

_X5A3562-Edit20130509RNWR  river otter


That brings this day’s shooting to a close.   Next time I’ll tell you and show you how I did with my new 1.4x III extender attached to the 400 f5.6L lens.  Is it worth double the cost of the II model?  Thanks for stopping by!



This entry was posted on Friday, May 17th, 2013 at 12:16 pm and is filed under The Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “May 9, 2013 – Ridgefield NWR – 43 New Photos & 2 Videos”

  1. Kim Orth says:

    WOW! What great shots, Papa! There were so many good ones…I loved them all! Kind of cool to have see a mink and an otter in one day too. I think I’ve only seen a mink running across the road there once. Can’t wait to see what you get with your new extender! 🙂

    • Dennis says:

      Thanks much, Kimi! It was a fun day. At first I thought the mink was a weasel, but after looking it up I found weasels to be a lighter brown with buff in the front. In any case, it was neat to capture one finally.

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