Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge 4-20-2018

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#1
This past weekend I made another trip to Vancouver with my family. My one year pass to the Ridgefield NWR had arrived earlier in the week, so we took a lap around the south unit. I learned my lesson from the last trip and attached the 1.4x teleconverter to my 1Dx + 100-400L II telephoto zoom before we started the tour.

No tree full of egrets for me. This is one of two or three that I saw.
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A yellow-headed blackbird was posing in a tree beside the road.
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Cinnamon teal, a "lifer" for me. Even though this is a male, it still brings back memories of the old Neil Young song, Cinnamon Girl, from my college days.
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Pied-billed grebe.
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This raccoon was to busy digging for something to smile for the camera.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
Several large flocks of cackling geese were still present at the refuge. According to my Sibley's, there are six sub species of Canada goose: common, cackling, Aleutian, lesser, Richardson's, and dusky. This may be a lesser, as it has a pale breast and intermediate size bill.
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A killdeer.
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An adult and juvie nutria.
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We walked to the blind. I got an "ID" shot of a common yellowthroat in a tree along the walkway.
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I did not think it was warm enough yet for turtles to be out, but no one told the turtles.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#3
Two pair of Canada geese and their goslings were on the levee off the road, The blind is visible across the lake in the background.
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Two nutria were on the levee below the geese.
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One of the nutria wanted to get over the levee and jump into the lake. The goose interpreted the nutria as a threat and reacted accordingly.
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#5
Telephoto shot of the blind across the lake. Someone is in the blind taking photos with a telephoto lens.
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A red-tailed hawk was perched near the end of the loop. A shot from my car.
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And a shot from the outhouse near the ranger shack.
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One of the flocks of cackling geese.
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A sighting of an "albino" nutria was written on the white board at the ranger shack. I did not see it, but I wonder if it was the same one I photographed from the blind on 3-2-13. It's continuing survival would not be too difficult, for it can swim to avoid coyotes, the only Ridgefield predator I have seen that is large enough to bring down a nutria. There was also a reported sighting of an otter. I don't know if an otter is large enough to take on a nutria.
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BobH

Administrator
Staff member
#7
"six subspecies of Canada geese"
Wow, and here I thought they were all simply Canada Geese. I wonder what sub-species "mine" are? (Hey, I feed them, so they're mine, right?)
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#8
"six subspecies of Canada geese"
Wow, and here I thought they were all simply Canada Geese. I wonder what sub-species "mine" are? (Hey, I feed them, so they're mine, right?)
From the link I posted: The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge is a winter home to six subspecies of Canada geese including Taverner’s, dusky, western, cackling, lesser, and Vancouvers.

So in addition to the common, cackling, Aleutian, lesser, Richardson's, and dusky subspecies listed in my Sibley's, you can add Taverner's, western, and Vancouver. We are now up to nine (and counting?)

Like Bob, I thought they were all just "Canada honkers." Cackling geese don't even honk, they cackle.

An article I read on the internet said that experts can identify the nesting grounds of a Canada goose by its appearance. The different flocks nest at different locations in the far north, such as a specific island or a specific spot on a specific island. Over the millennia each flock has developed physical characteristics unique to that flock, such as color, size, bill size, presence/absence of white bands around the neck, etc.
 


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