Expect the Unexpected

I really had a dental appointment in Vancouver yesterday, and no lunch date, so I decided to try to get to Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge early in the morning because the last time I was there almost all the pictures I took had the sun behind the subject.

As it turned out, of course, most of the Cinnamon Teal had disappeared and the only Ruddy Ducks I saw

Ruddy Ducks in Distance

were so far out in the center of the pond that I could barely see them to focus the camera, with no hopes of even coming close to getting as good of pictures as I did two weeks before.

I spent the most time watching American Coots and their babies. These members of the rail family repeatedly dove and fed their chicks. I thought this was unusual duck behavior, but then I read that Coots are not ducks, but, rather, members of the rail family, not that I know anything about the rail family.

American Coot with Chick

While focused on a pair of coots feeding chicks this duck floated into the scene. At first I ignored it, thinking it was yet another female Mallard. When I noticed that the tail feathers were black, though, I knew this was something I hadn’t seen before.

Male Gadwall

It turned out to be a male Gadwall, which became perfectly obvious when the two took flight.

I also spent considerable time pursuing song birds to photograph, but had even less luck getting decent shots in the trees. Still, I rather liked this shot of a male American Goldfinch, radiant in the mid-morning sunlight.

American Goldfinch