Sunday, October 4, 2015
On Thursday, our trip to the refuge was amazing as always. I think we'd be happy if we only saw a lone mallard and nothing else. That's how much we enjoy our time there!
Luckily for you, we saw a whole heck of a lot more than one duck. We saw (and heard) pheasants, meadowlarks, egrets, herons, red-winged blackbirds, pintails, marsh wrens, white-fronted geese, deer, a cormorant, a buzzard, a black-necked stilt, and a long-billed curlew. There were also a few deer and I saw my first ever raccoon.
On the auto tour, there were so many swarms of bugs that we couldn't roll the windows down to take photos. The mosquitoes are big enough to strap a saddle on and take for a ride!
The pheasants are difficult to get photos of. As soon as they hear you coming, they duck into the brush and disappear. And the red-winged blackbirds are flighty and like to hide in the camouflage of the reeds. On the other hand, this little killdeer had no problem posing for the camera.
There were quite a few greater white-fronted geese, but not nearly as many as there will be in the coming months at the refuge.
This great blue heron was quite a ways away, but with my new camera we were able to get a decent picture of him standing (on one leg it looks like!) in the field.
Black-necked stilts are one of my favorites and we jokingly call them the oreo cookie bird. The cool reflection on the water makes this photo one of my favorites of the day.
This handsome fellow is a long-billed curlew. He was hanging out with the stilt and a group of egrets.
Much to our surprise, a pair of raccoons walked through the group! They looked like hunchback cats and they lumbered past the egrets like they had somewhere important to be. I've never seen a raccoon in person before and was thrilled we were in the right place at the right time to catch a glimpse of these masked critters.
One of them stopped long enough to glare at us before continuing on his way.
This double-crested cormorant would have been overlooked with the naked eye, but when we scanned these ducks with binoculars, we knew we had found something special. He preened his feathers while the ducks in front of him bobbed in the water for food.
And now, my favorite photo of the day. No matter how many times I see an egret, I still can't get over how incredibly beautiful they are. Their beaks and eyes are fierce and yet their white feather flutter in the breeze, wispy and soft. This great egret posed for me in between preening and I've already printed out a copy to frame and hang in my office.
Now that I've finally finished sorting through the photos from our trip, I'm ready to turn right back around and go again!