I know it’s been a while since I last blogged here but I (and my wonderful wife) continue to be overwhelmed with personal and family projects, causing bird photography to take a backseat. The projects are important and need to be done but you can bet I am having withdrawal pains because I haven’t been keeping my normal schedule for bird photography. There appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel though and I hope soon to get back to my normal shooting schedule.
I was able to squeeze in a morning shoot on Aug. 19, 2011, at the Ridgefield NWR, my home base for shooting. I see as I drive the 4.2-mile auto route around Ridgefield, that the Fish & Wildlife Service is at the beginning stages of building a new piece of road that will cut off the dogleg that lies between posts #13 & 14. The new road basically is straight and connects the current road just before post #13 to the current road just past post #14.
It makes me a little sad to see this portion of road (the dogleg) being closed and removed from the auto tour. For five years I have been driving this road and I have had the pleasure of getting many wildlife shots here. Now, I know that it’s not like visitors won’t be able to get similar photo opportunities from the new road but it’s just the idea that the road will be gone, that I don’t like. The powers that be say that closing this portion of the road will reduce winter disturbance to Dusky Canada Geese. Perosnally, I don’t see it but then I’m not a biologist or an ornithologist. I just wish they would have put the money into something that would make the auto tour even longer, not shorter. Ok, I’ll get off my soap box now and get to my photos!
I was expecting a typical August day at the refuge where wildlife activity was low and bird shot opportunities were even less. But as I passed the Kiwa Trail parking lot I was pleasantly surprised to see a nice group of goldfinches in the teasel. I stopped and set up for a shot as this fellow allowed me many frames. Here are a couple.
[Remember to click on the thumbnails to enlarge the shots for more detail]
A little further down the road this Savannah Sparrow poses for me.
As I round post #11 I spot the semi-resident Peregrine Falcon I’ve seen during my last few visits in one of the trees to the right. The tree is much too far from the road for a good bird shot but here’s a glimpse of the beautiful bird.
I then see several Northern Harriers doing some aerial dances in the distance. After watching them for a while, one flies toward me.
Here are a couple of Great Blue Heron flight shots.
I’m now stopped at the three tree area right in front of Rest Lake, and notice a group of about 12 Great Egrets circling to land in the lake–not too far off the shore line but too far for a detailed shot. Rest Lake is almost dark blue in color and these white birds landing there make it an exposure nightmare. I tried getting flight shots when they landed and also shots after they landed. The sun was way too harsh for these white birds and I was sure I’d be deleting them.
In a subsequent loop around the refuge, I talked to my friend, Allen, who told me there had been a Snowy Egret sighting here at the refuge during the previous week. So I get home and discover that one of those white birds that had landed at Rest Lake was a Snowy Egret! Accidental bird in an accidental picture. Here are some shots that included the Snowy Egret (a very rare occurrence here). I am not posting these because of their technical excellence–that’s for sure!
( The smaller bird that has already landed is the Snowy Egret, which has a black bill and bright yellow feet if they were visible.)
Here’s a Great Egret approaching for landing.
A shot of a young American Coot just hanging out in the sunshine. I love this guy’s foot!
On my last loop, I was approaching the hunter’s gate at post #4 and spotted a doe and her fawn on the far side of the gate. They didn’t seem too disturbed by me and soon they walked past the end of the gate and onto the road heading for post #5. This little fawn apparently knows how to read signs.
“Hey Mom!, how long are we in for?”
This concludes my summer day of shooting at Ridgefield! Thanks for taking the time to view my blog!