I wasn’t sure I was going to return to Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge after my dental appointment since the birding wasn’t very good in the morning, but since I couldn’t make it home for dinner I decided to give it another shot. I’m glad I did. I got shots of birds I haven’t gotten a shot of for over a year.

Though I had seen a Green Heron weeks earlier in Santa Rosa and even that morning, they flew away too rapidly to get a picture of it. This Green Heron stood in the middle of a shallow pond posing

RdgfldGrenHrn

for a very long time.

The best shot, though, came when it started slowly walking along the bank with its green, head feathers standing straight up.

RdgfldGrenHrn2

I thought it was stalking prey, but it turned out it was actually trying to defend its territory against a Yellowlegs

. RdgfldYllwLgs

I assume the raised feathers were meant to intimidate the intruder, but they didn’t as the Yellowlegs continued to calmly search for food, totally ignoring the heron.

RdgfldYllwLgs2

The best shot of the day, though, came a few hundred yards up the road when I spotted this bird. I thought it was a Sora, but a little research revealed it was an immature Virginia Rail.

Rail

While photographing the juvenile, I glimpsed another, more mature, Virginia Rail.

VirRail

I’m still not sure if it was an adult or merely an older juvenile since it lacks the orange beak and the bright colors on the head an adult should have. Still, it’s definitely a Virginia Rail, not the Sora I originally thought I’d seen. I usually see Virginia Rails at Theler, but despite hearing them several times I haven’t managed to sight one there this year.

What do you think?