You know how this ends

Di and I had a neat family portrait session this morning in the area below the Audubon building on Cornell.  Great trails, great weather, great people.  We said our good byes to the Hoffmans and headed our separate ways.  As I was driving home I was struck by the fact that it was a beautiful day and we both knew that these kind of days won’t last long in the early days of a Portland winter.  I suggested that we take a ride to Ridgefield to see what it looked like with a crowd and with bright skies.  I hoped that Di would be able to see the peregrine and I hoped we’d both see the Vermillion Flycatcher that Dave and Sally Hill and many others have seen recently.  We got home, changed camera gear, grabbed some energy bars and water and headed out.

Not to disappoint, Ridgefield was BUSY. We started the loop and cautiously passed cars parked on the side of the road.  Lots of binoculars and a few cameras.  Not much to report on the first part of the loop.  We found a few Great Blue Herons, a staple at Ridgefield, and paused to shoot an immature bald eagle.  But we kept on moving.  Cars were kegged up at marker 11 … all were looking for the Vermillion Flycatcher I think.  We pulled in and waited about 10 minutes before I lost patience and drove on.  As we made the corner heading toward “three trees” we saw a coyote working the field on our right.  We stalked this animal for some time and came away with a lot of nice portraits.  We were both trying to catch the “leap and bound” behavior and got a few decent frames.  We also got some really nice fairly close portraits of this stealthy animal.

As we neared the end of the loop we noticed cars parked and knew that something was happening.  T’was another Great Blue Heron with a snake it had just caught.  In the next 15 minutes we burned a few hundred frames of the dance between the snake and the bird.  Like I said in the title, we know where this is going but we have to say that it was pretty interesting to watch the snake try to defend itself by tying itself in a knot, holding onto the ground somehow or just trying to stare the bird down.  It all ended with a satisfied bird and one less snake.  We headed for home with an unexpected topic for conversation.

I will close by saying that it was really nice to have Dianne along for this trip.  Mostly I sneak out during the week when she is working or I go with Eric or other friends.  Di hears all my comments and looks at the pictures.  Today we mounted the 28-300 on her D90 and she shot like she was back at the Bosque.  I loved hearing the rapid fire shutter click from the back seat.  What a fun way to spend time with your best friend.

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