Jan. 7, 2016 – my first time out shooting in 2016. The Ridgefield NWR had been closed due to icy conditions for three days prior and I was happy to see it open again. As I drove around the auto tour route, I could see why officials kept the area closed for safety. Almost every lake and canal was frozen solid with only a few spots that had begun to thaw. Various waterfowl were taking advantage of these thawed areas. But birds seemed to also be utilizing the ice covered water as well. Swans were sleeping on the ice and ducks were doing a great job landing on the ice. Even Bald Eagles seemed to take a liking to the icy surfaces of Rest Lake. I’m still not sure why eagles were landing there because once they did, they’d just stand there and look around. Speaking of eagles, I saw 8 or 9 eagles perched in trees (and airborne) as I drove the route–some mature birds but mostly immatures. Hawks, eagles, harriers and kestrels were all very plentiful.
For today’s photo, I had parked in front of Rest Lake where there is an iced over canal just off the side of the road. A group of Northern Shovelers had slid in there for a landing. Soon I noticed some of them deciding to fly out. Thinking that the others would soon follow I got prepared and caught this female take off right toward me. These ducks are fast!
Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f4, ISO 1600, 500mm, 10:41 a.m.