Hi! Returning now for a look at some shots I took on Apr. 23 at the Ridgefield NWR. The weather was nice and sunny for most of the day.
For the benefit of readers who are new to my blog, the Ridgefield refuge is in southwest Wahsington state, USA, and boasts a 4-mile auto tour road on a designated section. Most of this large refuge is off limits to the general public. In addition, from Oct. 1 to April 30, visitors must stay in their vehicles while driving the road, except at the main parking area and another small parking area (and photo blind) at about the halfway mark of the loop, where folks can exit their vehicles anytime. From May 1 to September 30, visitors can exit their vehicles and walk on the road. All the photos below were taken from my truck where I use bean bags to steady the camera. If you’re interested in reading more about what equipment I use and how I use it, please see my series of Bird Photography articles in the Articles section, beginning with Bird Photography Equipment, Part 1. From there you can link to any of the chapters in the series that may interest you. I also display my better images in my Bird Gallery and Non-bird Gallery sections. Hover your mouse over any shot you may want to see the details for or a larger view.
Let’s get started with my April 23 shots! It’s just after sunrise and I pass post #2 at the hunter’s road off to the right, I hear and spot a Common Yellowthroat. I get some nice light here but this small bird is a little far away for a high quality shot. (6:59 a.m.)
[As a reminder, the small images you see here are only thumbnails! Please click on each thumbnail to view a larger, more detailed, image. Click your browser Back button to come back to this page. The photos are usually much better in large view! Thank you!]
I drive up past post #3 and see a pair of Redheads out in the water to my left. Again, they are a lot further away than I would like but I have very few pictures of these beautiful birds so I get what I can. (7:01)
Just after the photo blind parking area I see a Wood Duck up in a tree to my right. He surprisingly let me take all the frames I wanted, and I left before he did! (7:13)
I can’t pass up a shot of the Great Horned Owl nest even though many of my readers have seen them before. Here one of the owlets is taking a nooze in the nest cavity. (7:19)
I swing around to between posts #11 & 12 and spot our Yellow-headed Blackbird. This fellow is really photogenic! (7:33)
The shot below shows the bird calling out with the nictitating membrane in place over the eye.
Here’s an American Bittern spotted between posts #12 & 13. (7:39)
The video below is of a different bittern, located between posts #2 & 3. Although the wind almost ruins the audio, you can see and hear the bird’s unique mating call. The video looks best in 720p or 1080p HD with full screen. Please change the quality to one of these HD resolutions when viewing. The little Gear icon at the bottom of the viewing window is where you choose your quality setting.
While technically crummy, the following two shots depict a Common Yellowthroat jumping from one branch up to another above him. Note that he has propelled himself upward without using his wings. Such amazing agility and strength. (8:02)
Another shot of the male Redhead! (8:10)
And another shot of the Great Horned Owl nest. One is awake and the other still apparently napping. (8:36)
I’m now back at the canal between posts # 2 & 3, and I capture an amazingly ‘unskittish’ Blue-winged Teal. These guys normally take flight before I even get to them. (9:08)
And, a Cinnamon Teal nearby. (9:09)
Near post #10, this Marsh Wren gave me a great performance. Note the tongue in the second shot. (10:02)
Even though I have lots of shots of the Yellow-headed Blackbird, when he poses this close it’s hard to pass up more shots! (10:10)
Here he’s just taking flight.
And a close up of that beautiful face!
Here’s a Western Scrub Jay basking in the sun. (10:44)
And, another Wood Duck between posts #7 & 8. (11:01)
Next I spotted a Red-tailed Hawk perched on a branch that wasn’t any higher than my truck window. A great POV I thought, so I took some video. Not a lot of action here but it’s only a half a minute long and it’s a beautiful bird. Again, watch in HD and full screen if possible!
Here’s a shot of the very common Savannah Sparrow, which you can find on almost any sign or post, especially around the open fields. I spotted one on a natural perch and decided to take the shot. The sun is getting pretty high now making it harder to avoid harsh shadows. (11:46)
And lastly, a Common Yellowthroat taking flight. (12:05 p.m.)
The sun is high and I’m getting hungry so I think I’ll call it a day. I hope you saw something here that you liked and that you’ll be back next time! I took some 750 shots on May 2 and will get the decent ones posted as soon as I can! (Still wayyyyy behind!)