Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunset at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

Having to recently travel to Portland this week for my presentation and book promo work I used the day getting to Portland to my advantage. It was mostly sunny and I got down near Battleground, WA by mid afternoon and went to check the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. There are miles of hiking trails in the north unit but today, feeling like a bad cold was barreling at me out of control, I opted to enjoy the long auto-tour in the south unit. It is a grand big long winding loop on good gravel roads where you are to remain in your vehicles. This is key…as the wildlife is used to cars slowly passing through but no threatening people walking about! Your car? It becomes your photography blind! It was a joy to photograph Great Blue Herons, hundreds of Tundra Swans, dozens of Northern Pintails, and a mix of Hooded Mergansers, Northern Shovelers, Canada Geese, Common Mergansers, Buffleheads, and much more. Oh, and the nutria and river otters were cute as well! Get out there and find the wealth of great areas our NWR system has to offer us to enjoy locally. Don’t forget about the gems of NWR’s in Eastern Washington either, like Turnbull and McNary National Wildlife Refuges. (photos: Great Blue Heron; sunset with feeding Northern Pintails; Great Blue Heron; various Tundra Swans)