I looked back at my Jan. 15 shots and noticed I had taken about a thousand frames that day. Usually when I shoot that many frames in an outing it indicates that the wildlife activity was pretty good that day. So I went through all the shots and tried to come up with ones that would give my readers an accurate account of how my day went. I even have a couple of videos that aren’t exactly exciting but add a little bit of variety to the post. So we’ll step back a few months in time and re-visit wildlife in winter.
I’m trying a new format this time where I display large images in the blog post rather than a thumbnail that you have to click on to see the image properly. Hopefully, this is a little more convenient and will ensure that folks are viewing a large version of each shot.
One problem with this new format is that the sidebar covers part of the first 4 photos. Please click once on these (or any) images and they will display in full without the sidebar.
Grab your favorite beverage because there are a lot of images here.
Ok, let’s get out onto the 4-mile gravel auto tour route at the Ridgefield NWR, Jan. 15, 2014. I have my camera at the ready, snacks and drinks on the floor in a bag, and both windows of the truck wide open for quick shooting access. Oh, and don’t forget that the truck heater is on full blast to attempt to take the chill off.
Driving through the Ash tree forest portion of the route, here’s a shot of a raccoon that had crawled up in a hollow tree stump. On March 16, I posted a photo of a Barn Owl in this exact same location.
Canon 5D Mark III, 1/125, f4, ISO 2000, 500mm. (9:18 a.m.)
Also near the end of the forest, a Canvasback finds me quite interesting. This is one shot where you’ll have to click on it to see the duck. Hit your browser back button to return to this post. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/640, f4, ISO 2000, 500mm. (9:25 a.m.)
Near the Canvasback, an American Wigeon is looking good! Canon 5D Mark III, 1/125, f4, ISO 2000, 500mm. (9:26 a.m.)
A favorite perch for Northern Harriers is a post near marker #12 at the refuge. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f4, ISO 2500, 500mm. (9:50 a.m.)
This is the time of year for thousands of Canada/Cackling Geese to be out on the water or foraging in the fields (in huge flocks). I stopped at a spot just past the ‘three tree’ area where there was a small group of geese on a berm that separates Rest Lake from a narrow slough. With the background being either water in the lake or trees and grasslands thousands of feet away, I was hoping for some action take offs or landings, yielding a relatively clean background in the image. Below is a series of shots of a goose coming in for a landing on the berm. Blurred out white areas in the background are swans out in Rest Lake. My favorite of the four is the 2nd due to the wing positions. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f4, ISO 2500, 500mm. (9:58 a.m.)
I’m driving down the home stretch of the refuge auto tour and notice out over the field to my left in the distance a bird flying toward me, parallel to the road 500-600 feet away from the road. It really caught my attention because of the coloring–the light-colored head and underwings. I stopped and got the camera ready in the driver’s side window. And just as luck would have it, the bird takes a sharp left before it got to my position heading perpendicular to me. I’d like to think the bird knew I wanted it to do that so I could get a picture but in actuality, it was heading for a tree that was ahead of me about a hundred feet and on the right side of the road. As the bird took the left turn and was still too far away, I started shooting bursts if for no other reason than to practice acquiring focus for when it got closer. So I got lots of frames of this bird flying toward me. The bird turned out to be a Rough-legged Hawk–somewhat rare at the refuge. Below are some of the shots during flight and after it landed in the tree for a short time. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f4, ISO 2500, 500mm. (10:07 a.m.)
A mature Bald Eagle on the perch tree just south of the unused nest. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f4, ISO 1600, 500mm. (10:14 a.m.)
A nice Red-tailed Hawk. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1600, f4, ISO 1250, 500mm. (10:32 a.m.)
Not far from the location of the Rough-legged Hawk there’s an American Kestrel on a natural perch. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f4, ISO 800, 500mm. (11:41 a.m.)
Here’s a Northern Harrier chowing down, way out in a field. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f4, ISO 1000, 500mm. (11:46 a.m.)
A Great Blue Heron portrait. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1600, f6.3, ISO 800, 500mm. (12:20 p.m.)
Next is a video of a Double-crested Cormorant drying its wings near marker #10. Best viewed at 1080p resolution in full screen.
A male Bufflehead. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1000, f5.6, ISO 2000, 700mm. (1:24 p.m.)
Just past marker #11 a Hooded Merganser is taking it easy. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/2000, f5.6, ISO 500, 700mm. (2:11 p.m.)
Then he shakes. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/2000, f5.6, ISO 500, 700mm. (2:11 p.m.)
Here’s a video of this Hooded Merganser doing some preening. Best viewed at 1080p resolution in full screen.
Another American Kestrel, this time a male on a sign. A couple of poses. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 320, 700mm. (2:26 p.m.)
One of a pair of nesting Canada Geese. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1600, f5.6, ISO 640, 700mm. (2:38 p.m.)
A beautiful Red-tailed Hawk. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f8, ISO 2000, 700mm. (2:52 p.m.)
Another of those ‘could have been nice’ shots except that the eye isn’t showing well enough. Love these birds though! Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 800, 700mm. (3:18 p.m.)
These last 27 images were all taken from my truck in the same spot in just over an hour–eleven different species either flew by or swam by. The light was right so I just waited for birds to come to me. A fun way to end a photo shoot at the refuge. Check ’em out below!
American Coots get a bad rap sometimes but I still like to try for a shot now and then. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1600, f5.6, ISO 800, 700mm. (3:20 p.m.)
I was parked at a spot hoping for some fly-by opportunities from eagles when this bird came into view from a great distance. I didn’t have time to check with binocs so I just shot a few frames as it was flying away from me. I’m pretty sure it is a Short-eared Owl and a terrible shot categorized only as DOCUMENTARY. But it was exciting seeing one! (3:25 p.m.)
Now the sun is beginning to get low in the western sky and it’s time for some warm light shots. Here’s the Hooded Merganser trying to rest but keeping an eye on me. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1600, f6.3, ISO 800, 700mm. (3:31 p.m.)
Both these geese flew by staring at me and the top one is pretty vocal about something. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1600, f6.3, ISO 800, 700mm. (3:32 p.m.)
The Hooded Merganser doing some preening. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1600, f6.3, ISO 800, 700mm. (3:35 p.m.)
A couple of Tundra Swans fly overhead. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1600, f6.3, ISO 800, 700mm. (3:35 p.m.)
Our friend, the Hooded Merganser, gave me a wing flap so here are 4 of the frames from that burst. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1600, f6.3, ISO 800, 700mm. (3:36 p.m.) I think I like the last one best.
Another American Coot portrait. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1600, f6.3, ISO 1250, 700mm. (3:38 p.m.)
Here’s a small group of Northern Pintails in flight. I enhanced this for something different using the Midnight filter in Nik Color Efex Pro 4. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1600, f6.3, ISO 1250, 700mm. (3:42 p.m.)
A lovely fly-by from an immature Bald Eagle— 2 shots here. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1600, f6.3, ISO 1250, 700mm. (3:48 p.m.)
The water color on this Bufflehead may seem exaggerated but this is how it looked. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1600, f6.3, ISO 1250, 700mm. (3:53 p.m.)
And a gull is always good for a flight shot. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/2000, f6.3, ISO 1250, 700mm. (3:55 p.m.)
And it was nice of this mature Bald Eagle to mozy on by. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/2000, f6.3, ISO 1250, 700mm. (3:59 p.m.)
This Northern Harrier wanted to get in on the action at sunset, too. 3 shots. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/2000, f6.3, ISO 1250, 700mm. (4:03 p.m.)
My pal again, the Hooded Merganser. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/2000, f6.3, ISO 1250, 700mm. (4:07 p.m.)
And another Bald Eagle. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1600, f5.6, ISO 1600, 700mm. (4:12 p.m.)
And another goose in warm light. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1600, f5.6, ISO 1600, 700mm. (4:12 p.m.)
This is a fairly heavy crop on these Pintails but the low sun just lights them up beautifully. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1000, f6.3, ISO 1600, 700mm. (4:22 p.m.)
To finish today up, a flock of Sandhill Cranes against the trees way, way, way off in the distance. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1000, f6.3, ISO 1600, 700mm. (4:26 p.m.)
2 thoughts on “Jan. 15, 2014 – Ridgefield NWR – 52 Images & 2 Videos”
WOW! Thanks for those amazing photographs!!!! Breath-takingly amazing!!
Thank you, Christy, for your nice words! It makes me happy that you enjoy them, which is what it’s all about.