Toppenish Wildlife Refuge

I’ve been looking forward to returning to Toppenish Wildlife Refuge since I started planning this trip. I even went to bed early, really early, so I could be at the refuge before 8:00 am.

I wasn’t disappointed. Upon entry I found the main pond full of American White Pelicans feeding,

Pelicans Feeding

though they bolted when a number of ducks scattered as I approached. Although I felt bad that I’d interrupted their feeding, it was thrilling to watch them fill the sky:

Pelicans In Flight

As I walked around the pond, I flushed several Black-Necked Stilts that seemed to circle around me “incessantly repeating ‘pleek,’” just as Sibley notes. It reminded me a lot of the Killdeer I’d seen just before that did exactly he same thing in order to draw me away from its nest.

Black-necked Stilt in Flight

It took me a considerably longer time to get this shot of a Stilt wading on the edges of the pond, but this is one of the few times I prefer a stepping shot to a flying shot.

Stilt Walking

I actually managed to get several more shots that I liked, but I thought I’d leave you with this shot of a Marsh Hawk that buzzed me several times,

Marsh Hawk Overhead

though the closest shots were taken directly into the sun and were considerably underexposed. I figured she was angling to get onto the web page or she wouldn’t have buzzed me so low twice.

I certainly wish I lived closer to this refuge. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to put up with the summer heat or the winter cold.

3 thoughts on “Toppenish Wildlife Refuge

  1. loren, i’m with you on the walking shot of the black-necked stilt, that’s a beautiful photograph. i have to say that seeing the marsh hawk with its beautiful colouration is a real highlight for me. that is a gorgeous bird!!!!
    angling for fame? i think it was!!! steven

  2. Pelicans, my favorite bird. Oddly enough, I got pictures of American white pelicans myself this weekend. The fishing that they’re doing there is called “driving” according to the bird keeper at the zoo.

    Terrific photos. And I’ve really enjoyed your trip photos near Goldendale.

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