Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge - A Drive on the Wild Side

I like birds. In fact I like most any kind of wildlife.  Any of you who regularly visit this blog will already know that.  You will also know I have been trying to get that "perfect" Great Blue Heron shot for a long time.  Well...last Saturday I hit the motherlode when I visited the Ridgefield NWR just north of Portland and along the Columbia River.  Not only did I see many varieties of geese, but there are eagles, ducks, hawks, otters and muskrat galore.  The Refuge has an area that is accessed only by car (meaning one is not allowed out of the car, so my photos were taken through the car window...yes it was rolled down and yes it was cold!!)

The refuge was established in 1965 for a particular species of dusky Canada geese, whose habitat in southern Alaska was destroyed during the earthquake in 1964.

Of course I found my heron right away, and just scant feet from my car.  Apparently the refuge's denizens aren't bothered by seemingly inanimate objects such as cars that follow a predictable route along a gravel road.  This one paid no attention as I and a number of other photographers and bird watchers clicked and gawked away to their hearts' delight.

This is a young eagle (eaglet?) perched on a branch. 

 A flock of dusky Canada geese gathered on the bank.  In the background are tundra swans.

 ...coming in for a landing.

 Tundra swans in flight

I like this image.  A solitary heron perched on a branch.  The pond is frozen and the sun creates an interesting, almost surreal effect with the backlight.

Another shot of my heron, backlit with the sun. 

This gnarly old tree is on the north Carty Unit of the refuge, where one can get out and hike a number of trails.  One can easily imagine a gnome or a hobbit peering from behind the trunk.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos Paul, my favorite one is of the tree, I love the history it must hold and the stories it could tell if only it could talk;)

Your cuz, Patty.