Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge 6-7&9-2018

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#1
I took advantage of my season pass to Ridgefield NWR by stopping there to and from a recent trip to Vancouver and Portland.

Thursday (6/7)

After getting my day pass, I headed west on the first leg of the River South (S) unit's driving loop. To the left of the road is a wetlands and to the right is a ditch full of water. A cinnamon teal was sharing a log with a large water turtle.

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A female redwing blackbird had snagged a beetle.

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A red-tailed hawk flew over the wetlands, drawing attention from numerous red-winged blackbirds.

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A pair of ruddy ducks, the first ones I have seen outside a zoo.

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I saw nutria at many spots throughout the loop.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
More birds from the wetlands.

American coot
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Yellow-headed blackbird. They have a weird call that sounds like a parrot. According to my Washington state bird book, they nest east of the Cascades. I wonder if they are extending thier range as several were present and calling.

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A pair of redheads. I kept trying to make them into canvass backs, which would be rare for this area.

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Halfway through the driving loop is a wooded parking area with a blind reached by walking down a short path through the trees. If you come, bring mosquito repellent.

Like last year, barn swallows are nesting inside the blind. This one did not mind my presence as it flew in and out bringing food to its hatchlings.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#3
A mystery flycatcher was in the woods outside the blind. Western wood-pewee?

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The croaking of bullfrogs could be heard throught the loop. At times it sounded quite spooky. I saw one in a waterway beside the road and took this shot from the pickup.

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I have never believed those who have told me they were out driving and saw a snipe in plain view beside the road.

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A flock of geese threw up a roadblock on the last leg of the loop.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#4
I have never gotten a photo of a bittern and accidentally flushed one when I got out of the pickup to photograph the geese.

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I slowly drove around the geese, who proceeded to block the path of the car following me.

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A hovering turkey vulture convinced me to get back into the pickup.
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A western scrub jay near the volunteer booth.

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Martins occupied the gourds near the slough.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#5
Saturday (6-9)

I returned for another loop on the way back home. Some of the birds were probably the same ones that I saw Thursday. From the wetlands west of the parking area and volunteer booth.

Cinnamon teal.
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Great blue heron. My son took this photo as the bird was on his side of the road.

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Redheads
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Yellow-headed blackbird.

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Mystery bird. It looks like a juvie, but I cannot ID the species.
Update: this is a juvie American coot.
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Last edited:

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#6
A better shot of the ruddy duck.

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After we turned the corner and started heading south on the loop, we saw a kettle of turkey vultures perched on two trees.

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Some may think the turkey vulture is ugly, but I think it is an amazing example of adaptation to feeding on carrion.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#7
We got out of the pickup at the parking area for the bird blind and photographed a commmon yellowthroat and a tree swallow in the woods.

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An eagle landed in the grass on the other side of the road between us and the tree where the vultures were perched.
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It emerged carrying a rabbit and flew east. I forgot to advance my shutter speed and took these shots at 1/250. :mad:

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As the eagle carrying the rabbit flew east, a second eagle (visible in the background) flew west.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#8
The first eagle continued flying east with the red-winged blackbirds in pursuit. Two gentlemen who were also photographing the action said there is a nest on the other side of the slough.

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The other eagle landed in the tree where the vultures were perched, which stirred up the vultures.
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I accidentally knocked my shutter speed down to an even slower 1/200, but I like the way it blurred the background as I was following the vulture in flight.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#9
What I thought was a vulture flying in turned out to be another bald eagle, a sub adult probably about three years old.

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No one liked the presence of the eagle, including the vultures and a raven.

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We walked over to get some closeups of the eagle.

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The eagle was tired of all the attention and decided it was time to depart.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#10
Leaving us in the dust.

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I walked to the blind. The swallow hatchlings were waiting patiently for dinner to arrive.

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I took a shot of a pied-bill grebe outside the blind as I waited for dinner to arrive.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#11
The parent arrived, fed the hatchlings, then took off to catch more food.

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I photographed another flycatcher of some sort as I walked through the woods back to the car.

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