Clear and sunny today at the refuge! I arrived at just past 6 a.m. as the sun was just coming up over the ridge. This is an amazing place at this time in the morning and there is no one else around.
Here’s a shot of a Marsh Wren that I came across. [You can see a lot more detail if you click on the thumbnails and download the larger views].
Near post 10 I hear the call of the Wilson’s Snipe. This one was standing up on a log just calling away.
Our resident Yellow-headed Blackbird continues to give us photogs some awesome poses between posts 11 & 12.
Some female Red-winged Blackbirds stop in for a couple of shots in the same vicinity as the yellow-headed.
I need to get this off my chest! As I was stopped on the side of the road between posts 5&6 waiting for some small birds, several cars passed me on the left in quite a bit of a hurry. Later, I found out that they were a birding group meeting up at the Kiwa Trail entrance at 8am. Anyway, the 4th car to come up behind me, (and in quite a hurry), honked their horn at me!! Can you believe this? Even if I WAS blocking the road, people shouldn’t be sounding their horns. The driver then drove around me kicking up a lot of dust. We don’t honk our horns in a wildlife refuge folks!! What really floors me is that this person was apparently a birder!! Scary stuff and very inconsiderate.
As I approached post #10, I am treated to an open view of a beautiful Osprey. Unfortunately, the bird was in the shade against a bright sky–and fairly high up. This was the best I could come up with in this situation.
One of my Spring bird challenges is to get a decent shot of a Yellow-rumped Warbler. I was pretty happy with a couple of these. The first one is of a juvenile.
Here’s a Cinnamon Teal in the canal between posts 12&13.
I drive around to post #13 and there’s a Savannah Sparrow perched there. Here, I’m shooting into the sun so I used flash to add some light.
Here’s a Red-winged Blackbird at the cattails between posts 2 & 3.
This Ruddy Duck was also between posts 2&3. The bright sunshine made it difficult to expose both the whites and darks correctly. This duck paid little attention to me and kept diving for food. Each time he surfaced, he would be closer to me. This is one time I wished the light had been diffused a little by some light clouds.
Heading around just past post #10 at a small patch of cattails, this Marsh Wren couldn’t be missed.
At post #12, near the sticker bushes, I get another glimpse of a Savannah Sparrow.
As I approach the three tree area, there is another batch of sticker bushes and I hear the familiar call of the Common Yellowthroat. I pull over and stop, hoping to see a female this time. In with two or three males I DO see a female, but she sure seems more reluctant to perch out in the open. Most of these shots are of males but I was happy with the one female shot included here.
After a few loops around the auto tour, I decided to take a quick stroll around the Kiwa Trail. I attach my camera, flash, and Better Beamer to a monopod and carry it over my shoulder. Today, I decided to go around the trail counter-clockwise (i.e., turn right at the fork). While still in the wooded section, I spot a Brown Creeper making its way up a tree. Had to use a good dose of flash to get this one lit up!
Most of the way around the trail, and I spot this Tree Swallow, again in the shade of the wooded area, using some flash.
After finishing walking the Kiwa Trail, I drove over by the Great Horned Owl nest and one of the fledgling owlets was still on this side of the water, perched on a snag. One of the parent owls flew over to it from the far side of the water several times while I was watching. I found out later that in the next couple of days, this fledgling had figured out how to fly and made it across the water to join its family.
This ends my day at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. All in all, it was a good day, except for the person who honked their horn at me. Happy birding everyone!