One freezing day in January, I went on a bird-binge. It was mostly unintentional because I arrived at Vanport Wetlands to find the water frozen.
Then I went to Smith and Bybee Lakes and the water was frozen there too! I saw a fair amount of birds between the two locations despite the chilly temps, including a Downy Woodpecker that appeared frozen in place.
And Varied Thrushes.
I got to practice one of my 2016 goals: get better pictures of Golden and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. The best I could manage:
I still have a ways to go with those fast, wily birds.
Along the way, I even caught a glimpse of the local Great Horned Owl.
And I saw other birds including Northern Pintail, Pileated Woodpecker, Song Sparrow, Brown Creeper…but the trip felt quiet and slow. I missed the early new-birder days when every bird was a new surprise. Nostalgia already?! I wanted more. It was late afternoon and considering options, I decided to try a third location, Ridgefield NWR.
It paid off.
Granted some lakes were still frozen, but the afternoon sun warmed and shone over the refuge. The birds and I both appreciated the relief from the dark, cold morning.
I got a better look at the Tundra Swans with the yellow “teardrop” at the base of the bill.
Happy Swans were happy.
Northern Harriers were hunting.
Northern Shovelers were shoveling.
American Coots were…cooting? Okay, I’ll stop.
I took some of my favorite pictures that day. I Finally caught the American Kestrel before it quickly flew off.
Here’s a few more favorites of a Cackling Goose, Great Blue Heron, Gadwall and Savannah Sparrow.
Still pretty common birds, but I was thrilled. And maybe a little delirious from the sunshine. It’s been a wet winter.
Here are a few more.
My time at Ridgefield definitely made the day and scratched that birding itch. Wouldn’t you agree?
Tweets and chirps,
P.S. #Support Malheur