Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Convertible Duck Blind

Today was lovely. I paid my three dollars, dropped the top on my VW duck blind, dug out my binoculars and started the "Auto Tour Route" through the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Last week I was told there were a lot of swans there, but they've left to continue their journey to summer homes in the north. There was one lonely swan. I wonder that it didn't leave with the rest. Since wildlife and I don't get along, I don't really know what birds are what. So I will make a guess that it was a Tundra Swan. I also saw tree swallows, robins, barn swallows, a coyote, five-inch turtles on a floating log, lots of mallards and a multitude of birds I couldn't identify.

But, I was able to identify some. For instance this killdeer just stood beside the road for a photo opportunity.

Also this red winged blackbird was kind enough to follow me around for about an hour.

Red Winged Blackbird

The birds are in order of appearance.

Northern Shovelers

American Coots

Breeding Male Ruddy Duck
(and yes his bill really is that blue)

(These are very hard to see because they spend a lot of time under the water)

Sandhill Crane

Western Scrub Jay

Great Blue Heron

Red Tailed Hawk

Cinnamon Teal

(looks like a beaver with a rat tail)

And then the Canada Geese
("Melanie, they are not 'Canadian Geese', they are 'Canada Geese,'" I've been told)
Canada Geese

The Canada Geese filled the field and suddenly they leaped into the air and made a frantic dash for the trees at the edge of the field, flying over my car. I yelped and dropped my camera in an effort to cover my head. Being in a convertible in a wildlife refuge took on new meaning. When the birds were far enough away, I scooped up my camera and took this picture.

But then they started coming back, honking and screaming and wailing and I finally figured out why. This bald eagle was following them.

Bald Eagle

None of the other birds seemed upset by the bald eagle, but as the dozens of Canada geese circled around and their distraught flight path headed toward my car again, I decided it was time to leave before they could jettison fuel over my upholstery. I motored the car to the exit, put the top up and crossed back into civilization.

I hope you have enjoyed the journey.


  1. Disclaimer: Some of the bird pictures were procured from the Wikimedia Commons website. Mostly the ones that are really good are not mine.

  2. Hahahaaa. I was so impressed with your newfound photography skills! Thinking you had missed your calling as a wildlife photographer. But you saw all of them? Why didn't you wait for me? I've never seen some of those creatures in the feather. Is mid-April too late?

  3. I was also impressed by your photographs and rather jealous...until your disclaimer. I do see that while you malign the lovable raccoon and blaspheme the darling deer, you seem to favor the feathered flying creatures. In the past I would have cried "fowl!" but I also have developed a fondness for the sphincter-less, toothless creatures that shed white feathers on my black canvas car cover. Great tour!

  4. So, the Northern Shoveler, the American Coots, the Ruddy Duck, the Bufflehead, the Crane, the Scrub Jay, the Great Blue Heron, the Hawk and the Cinnamon Teal are not my pictures, but I did see them, which is why it took nearly four hours for me to go through a four mile drive. Give me a break. I have a "beginner" camera, with only a 3x zoom.

    Dale, I think the beginning of March might be a better time, but there are always some birds there. I'd be willing to go back with you.

    Karen, it was the dang Canada geese getting all in a flap about the eagle (all my pictures) that made me leave. Picture 50 geese flying over your convertible.

  5. I am glad you are making amends to wildlife, my dear. ;) And you seem to have eagles, too, very nice. Also there is a heron at my boat club and it's such a big beautiful thing.

    Dunno where I'm going here though. Well done, anyway. :)

  6. Jenku,

    Don't get me wrong. Being around wildlife makes me really nervous. And as you saw above, it became very dangerous there at the end. Have you ever seen Canada goose poop?

    The GBH (Great Blue Heron) is such a lovely creature. I often used to see them while kayaking.

  7. What a great way to spend a gorgeous day! Thanks for sharing your birding adventure. :)

  8. Thanks Linda. I was just winging it.

  9. It appears you are rather accomplished with a camera. Good job. Fantastic pics.

    I love ducks. I want one with a blue beak :)

  10. Thank you, Wendy. What a nice compliment. (embarrassed grin)

  11. That is one mean bird to be able to kill a deer! Sounds like a nice day trip

  12. NWFoodie, That is a great idea. Maybe I should hire a couple of killdeer to patrol my yard.

  13. You must live in a wonderful place to have seen all the wildlife.

  14. haha!! Love the disclaimer! :D

    Thanks for the tour, Melanie. Awesome! I love birds. We had a cockateil called Percy for about 10 years. He was proper he could say, "Pretty boy." We never kept him in his cage, he had the run of the house. When we got him he had pulled out all his feathers except his head, he looked well bad. He grew them all back after being with us for a few months then set about destroying anything that he could pull apart. He had a bigger attitude problem than your racoons haha!! But we loved him very much :)

  15. Elizabeth--It's the Northwest. It is worth the visit.

    Emailman--Okaaaaay, I'm putting cockateil on my "Don't Even Think About This For A Pet" list. But I'm very glad you loved him. You should follow Karen's "No TV for a Year" blog in my sidebar. You two have a lot in common.

  16. Percy was an AWESOME pet! He was just badly treated before we rescued him.

    Do we? haha!! I will checking it out :)

  17. LOL I was wondering how you got such amazing pics!!!

  18. Loved the cyber tour of the refuge. Mike and I go there several times a year and compete to see who can spot the first eagle.

  19. Carolyn,

    Thanks for commenting on my blog. I'll bet I would have spotted it earlier if I'd known that every time the Canada geese take desperate flight, it is probably because an eagle is nearby.

  20. You have a lovely, grammatical blog! The pictures were beautiful, and I felt I was walking along with you. Had I been there, however, the whining would have started after the kildeer, and by the final walk down the lane, I would have had blisters, a runny nose and no kleenex, a crick in my neck, and the want of a drink. OOOH, I just love nature walks!

  21. Molly,

    How very sweet of you to say so. I guess it doesn't do any good to ask an ex-teacher not to look at my blog because I'm ascared she'll find grammatical errors. *sigh*

    Just teasing. Please come back again and it is okay if you correct my grammar.


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