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

6 thoughts on “Expect the Unexpected”

  1. The Gadwall looks like he has his Adidas stripes. The goldfinch photo has great clarity with the stem looking like oil on canvas. Nice touch.


  2. We have what I think is a fledgling sparrow in our house right now. I googled how to feed them and am doing my best. My daughter found him lying on the ground, one eye injured, in a park. We got him yesterday. His eye is open now, thought still a little watery. He’s very friendly and loves my daughter. He’s eating and drinking a little when we offer him some, but not enough, I don’t think. Any tips? I’m so afraid he’s going to die, and Zeke is very attached to Melvin. He rides around on her shoulder all day.

  3. I know nothing about raising baby birds, tarakuanyin.

    If you have a local audubon society that would probably be a good place to start. Some larger towns have a rescue center for birds. If your town has one, you could probably get advice there.

    Good luck.

  4. Wonderful photos, Loren. I’ve never seen a baby coot before, but I have seen baby Virginia rails. A few years back, close to where I live, on several occasions my neighbors and I saw adult Virginia rails cross the trail in a marsh area, followed by little black rail chicks which were somewhat younger than the young coot in your photo.

  5. His eye opened completely, and by noon he was flying around the cage we’d borrowed, and by three he took off from my daughter’s hand into a big tree. Later we saw him digging up something in the flower garden, happy as can be. I think he’ll be OK.

  6. I’m so mad. I used to see quite a few Goldfinches in this part of Texas for a few years, now not at all for 2 or 3. Shit! If you’ve got ’em all, send some back!

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