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Birds

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.