I’ve been holed up at home as I work on a book project. I have new momentum to “get ‘er done” and I have been trying to discipline myself and move forward a bit each day. Last night I hit a wall and decided that I needed to get out and air my head out a bit. Where better to do that then Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. I charged batteries and packed a bag. After brewing a pot of coffee this morning I headed out to the refuge.
You never know what Ridgefield will provide but it almost always gives something. Today was no exception. I dawdled around my first lap. During that time I saw that both the Davenport boys were in the area although we did not stop to talk. I think the flat light and general quiet of the area had them both moving along more than I think is their norm. I walked into the blind area again and was ready for an owl to flush. I glassed the blind from a distance and didn’t see anything inside. I worked my way quietly to the blind and entered slowly. Nada. I’m glad that there actually wasn’t an owl there to scare me again but I would have enjoyed seeing it again. Onward.
There were a lot of Great Blue Herons in the area and I found this one close to the road and hunting. I sat and watched once the camera was dialed in. It didn’t take long. Bad day to be a frog. As always, you can click on an image to see a larger version.
Moving on I ran into what I think is the same Red-tailed Hawk that has been posing on a variety of posts and signs in the area. This time it was on the ground. It sat there and posed for me moving its head side to side and staring at me on occassion. I never really tire of looking at the detail in the feathers of these birds. Any bird, really. I’m wondering if the bird is cross-eyed due to my proximity. Since these birds can see small prey on the ground while in flight it makes some sense to me that they might need to narrow their field of view to look at something in a car that is about 20 yards away.
As I entered the home stretch of lap #2 I saw an American Kestrel hovering somewhat nearby. Even with the light at its back (bummer) I was still able to get a sharp shot that didn’t require too much manipulation in Lightroom to open up the shadows.
The bird flew off to the north and landed on a sign. Why is it always a sign for crying out loud? I sure wish there was some more natural perching material attached to the signs in the refuge. Maybe the birds would land on a stick or branch instead of a hunk of metal. The photos would sure benefit but I suspect that installation and maintenance are the reasons the the Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t do this. Maybe they just don’t realize how great a photo opp might be had? Maybe they just don’t care. Someday I’ll ask. Anyway, the bird hung tight as I got within distance to take a few more photos. Here are a couple with the head swiveled each way. I love the clarity and colors of the bird and consider these my best Kestrel shots so far this year.
I left Ridgefield and went to see what I could find at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. My friend Carol walks there almost every day and reported that she was seeing Western Bluebirds. While I didn’t see them I did chase some jays around for a bit and got in a bit of walking for exercise. What a great way to spend a day! We are so fortunate that we have these great places so nearby.
More to come.