It was nineteen degrees this morning when my car crunched its way down frozen gravel roads in the Vancouver hills, on my way to grab a cup of coffee. There are so many errands to run on a Saturday.So how I got to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge with my steaming cup of joe and a blueberry muffin is a mystery. I had so many things to accomplish, but instead the Red-winged Blackbird beckoned.
It was his siren's song that drew me in, made me pay the "honor system" fee and go in.But rolling down windows to get a great view of the wildlife when it is twenty degrees is just plain crazy. Even the Great Egret was hunkered down, his neck tucked in and wings covering his thin legs.
The same with the Great Blue Heron. All hunkered down to keep warm.
It is still too early for most of the birds I saw last year, but there were a few. Some in pairs.
Some were alone.
And in one area, there was a red film over the water. What is that?
And the horrid pest, the Nutria scurried along the river bank.
There were bald eagles in trees.
And the few cars out jumbled up to get pictures. (They must not have them near their house.)And no one stopped to take the Red-tailed Hawk's picture. They all wanted the eagle's pictures. Some had camera lenses as long as my arm. I felt bad for the hawk, so I opened my sunroof, snapped his picture and thanked him for the lovely photo op.
By the time I got to this Great Blue Heron, it had warmed up to a toasty twenty-three degrees. I snapped his picture and then looked up to see what he was watching.
I think it might have been this.
Further along the Canada Geese rested in shallow water.
And Northern Pintails hunted.
Several Killdeer ran along beside the car, but they were so fast I couldn't focus on them. I finally took this through the windshield.
Just before I left, the Great Egret unfurled himself and began to stroll.
And this Great Blue Heron posed for this beautiful photo opportunity.
I gasped when I looked at my watch, rolled up my window, cranked up the heat and motored to the store before meeting my daughter for coffee in Portland.
By the time I got home, this evening, snow was falling.