I’m back with another photo shoot at Ridgefield NWR. It’s been a while since my last blog post–just too many projects going on right now. This was a very active day at the refuge and that big, yellow ball in the sky (I think they call it the sun) was actually out! This is a rarity in the dead of winter around these parts. I took over 700 shots today and captured a good variety of wildlife.
The coyotes were out in good form today. I think I spotted them on at least three different occasions as I drove the 4-mile auto tour loop at Ridgefield. These three shots were captured just before 8 a.m.
[Please click on the thumbnails to see larger views of the images].
I can’t recall the exact location of this Mallard but the sun was casting an early morning glow that I couldn’t pass up (8:15).
Here’s a coyote on top of the dike between posts #12 & 13. Another early morning light shot (8:31).
And, a minute later, a Savannah Sparrow enjoying the morning sun (8:32).
Toward the end of the loop, off to my right, two of the refuge’s nesting Bald Eagles (8:39).
A Red-tailed Hawk just scratching its head (8:55).
Approaching the end of the Ash tree forest around post #10, I see my brother, Gary, parked up ahead and he’s pointing his lens at a mature Bald Eagle perched just off the road to the left. I pull over on the left side of the road and am looking right at this beautiful bird not much more than about 20 feet away. The sun was directly behind the bird, which turned out to be a good thing. The bird gave me 2 or 3 minutes to shoot before flying off. Here are some of the many frames I was able to capture (9:09).
Approaching Rest Lake near post #12, a Northern Harrier gives me a fly-by (9:30).
I finish another loop and drive around again to Rest Lake where I spot this American Bittern on my side of the canal between posts # 12 & 13. I’m almost too close to the bird to focus, at about 12 feet. I take some quick shots but the bird thinks I’m too close, too, and decides to enter the water and swim across the canal, which is about 15 feet across. The second shot shows the bird swimming in the water. I have heard of others capturing this behavior but this is my first time to witness it and capture it in a photo (10:20).
As I enter the new road segment just past post #13, these two coyotes are hunting the field to my right (10:32).
On my third loop, I spot this European Starling on a sign near the Kiwa Trail entrance. This bird can really have beautiful colors (10:53).
Hair all slicked back!
At the three-tree area in front of Rest Lake, a Red-tailed Hawk is using the perch where I’ve taken many shots of the Peregrine Falcon. The light here isn’t the best because the tree itself is causing shadows on the bird with the light coming from the left. The bird though, is magnificent! (11:23).
A few minutes later I am rounding the turn where the new road segment converges with the old just before post #14. Out of the blue, a bird flies from right to left in front of me. I notice the black wing tips and grab my camera very quickly. I got about a dozen frames but the angle I had to shoot out the truck window made it very tough to capture this guy well. This shot could have been sharper and the shadow doesn’t do it any good, either. But it is so rare that I see the male Northern Harrier, I had to post it anyway (11:26).
I’m on loop four now and entering the Ash tree forest. Bewick’s wrens were quite plentiful today. Here are a couple of shots. The first shot was made in a shady area and uses flash fill while the second shot was all natural light (12:01).
I believe this shot was taken at the three-tree area and the light was coming from the left. The left side of the bird was so bright compared to the right, I decided to use flash fill here to get more detail on the front and right side of the bird (12:40).
I don’t recall the exact location of this little Song Sparrow but he reminded me of a chipmunk with its pouches full of food (1:10).
I got a close look at a Great Blue Heron so I couldn’t resist taking its picture (1:13).
Approaching a post near marker #12 I spot a Northern Harrier. She appears to be checking out something in the sky. This is an awesome bird and will bring this episode of The Blog to a close (1:24).
A super sunny day at the refuge! Hope to see you again next time. Take care!