Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge

Tuesday I left the house at 6:25 so that I could spend time at Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge near Vancouver before my semi-annual dental appointment. I ended up spending a little over two hours there, though the conditions were less than ideal and I managed to get wet even inside my car.

I’ve been anticipating the trip since last year when I bought a window mount for my 500mm lens. The set up made it easy to get this shot, since the Red-Winged Blackbird was on the left hand side of the road.

Red-Winged Blackbird

The only problem was keeping it in the frame and in-focus since it was right on the edge of the road.

I would never have even stopped to get a picture of these Green-Winged Teal if I hadn’t had a 700mm lens attachment on the camera.

Green-Winged Teal Pair

Green-Winged Teal are notoriously shy, so being able to shoot from the car worked out beautifully.

Unfortunately, the set up probably cost me the best shot of the day, one of this coyote


who just a few minutes before this shot was taken was standing on THIS side of the fence and staring defiantly at the three cars that had just pulled up. Unfortunately, he was on the right hand side of the road, and my camera was set up to take pictures on the left side. By the time I had turned my car far enough to get this shot, he had started to move on, exiting right.

I had better luck around the next corner when I got this shot of a male Gadwall, the best I’ve ever managed to get.

Male Gadwall

Unfortunately in order to get it I actually had to dismount the lens from the window support and hand hold it as I rested it on the window, far from ideal.

It doesn’t take long to discover that nearly every tool, no matter how powerful, brings its own liabilities to the table. At least with the door mount, I have a portable blind instead of having to sit in one place and wait for birds to come to me. It also provides a rock-solid mount for my heavy lens. But like the Maginot Line, it limits you to shooting in one direction. It becomes a real liability if you need to take a photograph in the opposite direction.

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