I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time updating our family tree information so I took a break today and headed to —- where else —- Ridgefield Refuge. I was hoping for ground fog for a few hours followed by increasing light. What I got was overcast, but dry, skies. It was like shooting inside a light box all day. A light box with a very dim bulb, mind you. The birds are still kind of scarce at Ridgefield but I did see an American bittern fly across a pond (no photos) and the first group of Tundra swans as they passed over heading south. If you want to see coots, mallards and great blue herons Ridgefield is a great place to be right now. I spent 4 hours cruising the loop and enjoyed the calm, dim light and an atmosphere filled with bird songs. The high point today was watching a heron swallow the biggest salamander I’ve ever seen one eat. The photo is not the best because I was leaning out the passenger side window with the car running and hand holding the camera while the heron carefully bathed its meal and then gulped it down. It always amazes me to watch how efficient these birds are. I guess when your life depends on the skill you get real good at it.
The refuge is almost empty of raptors. I saw several harriers and one red-tailed hawk. I really can’t wait for these large birds to come back in numbers. So, today I made due with a few small birds. The pesky kind that jump around, hide behind twigs and generally do their best to torment me. I still love using the 300 mm lens for its lightness and critical sharpness. Here are are couple of shots that made the editing cut.
I am excited to host a couple of friends from the eastside of Washington in the coming weeks. Both of these friends want to go to Ridgefield. That didn’t take too much arm twisting. I’m just hoping that the numbers of birds increases in the interim. Until then I’ll hang on to the fact that Ridgefield always provides something that is wonderful. Can’t wait to share that magic with long-time friends.