Continuing my May 17 photo shoot at Ridgefield, here are another ten shots and a video. The video features a Killdeer performing a “scrape” ceremony behavior where the male places his chest down on the ground and kicks with its feet as if trying to dig a hole while his tail is stuck up in the air. All the while calling out madly to his potential mate, who was standing about four feet away, also making loud vocalizations.
Let’s start with the Killdeer shots. I was in front of the Kiwa Trail entrance and saw (and heard) this Killdeer squatting down, then standing up, then squatting and kicking. I stopped the truck about 25 feet away and started taking shots and video. Here are some photos and the video is at the end.
[Be sure to click on the thumbnails you see here to download a larger, more detailed, view of the photos.]
Here’s the short video of the bird in action (also posted in the VIDEOS section of this website).
You’ll notice in the photos and in the video that there is a ‘blanket’ of what appears to be a soft material at the place where the male buries its chest in the ground. Have these birds been preparing this location for a nest for a while now? How did that blanket get there? It’s hard to believe that the birds are serious about locating a nest here this close to the road and out in the open.
The next bird I see is a bright yellow American Goldfinch perched quite high with white sky in the background.
As I round the corner at post #9, I’m surprised to see an adult Great Horned Owl fly from branch to branch in the woods to my left. Initially, the bird is quite far away but out in the open. I get out of my vehicle to secure a better position for shooting. Then the owl takes off again and flies toward me landing only about 25 feet away and not up very high. All this time the owl is getting dive bombed by starlings and other small birds. The owl just ducked a bit and didn’t let the small birds affect it.
Here are four shots from this encounter. This is the mother owl of the two new fledgling owlets that are never too far away–although I did not spot them on this trip. Again, I had to deal with that bright sky in the background for these shots.
While on the subject of the Ridgefield Great Horned Owls, I wanted to showcase my brother, Gary’s, awesome series of shots he took recently showing the mother owl and the two owlets perched together. Please check out this link to this fine Flickr series: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shotsbygary/5746920532/
This completes Part Two of my May 17 trip to Ridgefield. Be sure to go back and check out Part One if you missed it, or any of my previous photo shoot reports. I hope to get Part Three posted in the next few days.