I recall this day, Jan. 6, 2014, as being an awesome day at the Ridgefield NWR! Fairly nice photography weather and some nice wildlife activity was awaiting me. Please remember to click once on the thumbnails below to download a larger, more detailed picture. My site was recently moved to a faster, more updated server, so the downloads are a lot faster now. Give it a try and see what you think!
First up are some Sandhill Cranes doing what they usually do when I drive by–fly away. It made for a pretty winter morning shot though.
Canon 5D Mark III, 1/800, f4, ISO 1600, 500mm. (8:14 a.m.)
A rare visitor to the refuge, here’s a Canvasback looking very handsome. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/400, f4, ISO 1600, 500mm. (8:29 a.m.)
I came across a group of raccoons up in a snag while driving through the Ash tree forest. Here are a few shots from this encounter. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/640, f4, ISO 1600, 500mm. (9:20 a.m.)
Two mature Bald Eagles on the ground near marker #13. Note the Nutria in front of the eagle on the left. The birds paid no attention to it and vice versa.
Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f8, ISO 1250, 1000mm. (10:27 a.m.)
One of the above eagles takes off. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f8, ISO 1250, 1000mm. (10:36 a.m.)
I’d wished I had a faster shutter speed on this as most of the shots in the series of this otter were way too blurred from its motion. It was dark in the shade here and bumping up the ISO would have certainly introduced much unwanted noise.
Bird on a wire. This Song Sparrow posed nicely for me. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/500, f8, ISO 1600, 1000mm. (11:14 a.m.)
This is a series of shots taken when a Great Blue Heron comes in for a landing. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1000, f5.6, ISO 2000, 700mm. (11:24 a.m.)
From the same location where I took the heron landing photos, I shot this beautifully colored Norther Harrier as it grabbed some potential nesting materials in its bill.
Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1000, f5.6, ISO 2000, 700mm. (11:31 a.m.)
And, just a short distance up the road a Great Egret was foraging near the road’s edge. I figured I’d try a few close up shots. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f7.1, ISO 1250, 700mm. (11:40 a.m.)
Between markers #2 & 3, I spotted a lone female Ruddy Duck. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f7.1, ISO 1250, 700mm. (11:47 a.m.)
Here I’m near the large rocks across the road from the Kiwa Trail entrance. Someone had placed bird seed on the rocks which attracted this Golden-crowned Sparrow. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1000, f5.6, ISO 2500, 700mm. (12:46 p.m.)
I can’t pass up even a back shot of this Peregrine Falcon. Not the greatest quality here but the bird makes up for it.
Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1000, f5.6, ISO 1600, 700mm. (12:51 p.m.)
News spread quickly between refuge visitors that a Barn Owl was snoozing in a hollowed out tree trunk in the Ash tree forest. Due to the darkness of this location and the stillness of the bird, I was given the opportunity to shoot at a much slower shutter speed than I normally do, making good use of my lens’s image stabilization feature.
Canon 5D Mark III, 1/320, f5.6, ISO 2000, 700mm. (12:57 p.m.)
Just prior to marker #10, I spotted this Double-crested Cormorant. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/640, f6.3, ISO 1600, 700mm. (1:06 p.m.)
And, a couple more shots of our visiting Canvasback. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/800, f6.3, ISO 1600, 700mm. (1:10 p.m.)
Driving through the Ash tree forest, I spotted a young Red-tailed hawk perched maybe 10 feet up–a wide open shot with no obstructions. Sometimes these youngsters don’t associate a vehicle driving close by with danger, and they’ll let me shoot to my heart’s content. I took some shots of the bird’s front side and then drove a little past the perch and took some more. Here are shots from each viewpoint.
Canon 5D Mark III, 1/250, f5.6, ISO 1250, 700mm. (1:55 p.m.)
A pair of Buffleheads–one of my favorite ducks. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 2000, 700mm. (2:11 p.m.)
I was watching and photographing this beautiful Northern Harrier on the ground when it suddenly took flight with a rodent in tow. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 2000, 500mm. (2:15 p.m.)
A fly-by, sponsored by a Great Blue Heron. Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 2000, 500mm. (2:23 p.m.)
What I think is a California Gull. The first shot is treated with a low key filter in Nik Color Efex Pro 4, giving it a different look.
Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f4, ISO 1250, 500mm. (2:36 p.m.)
And, to finish up the day, big-eyed Northern Harrier with catch. The bird was really too far away to get a quality shot but I took some shots anyway. It was so small in the viewfinder that it wasn’t until I got home and looked at these photos on a bigger screen that I saw it had caught, carried, and devoured a rodent.
This certainly turned out to be one of my more active shooting days at the refuge. Hope you enjoyed something here! Take care and I’ll see you next time on The Blog!