Unexpected Pleasures

I went to the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge expecting to see Sandhill Cranes and would have been disappointed not to have seen them, but I saw other species that I didn’t expect to see and those sightings were more exciting than seeing the cranes.

I was nearing the end of the morning, mile-long walk on the refuge when I encountered a couple of experienced birders intensely staring at a tree.  They told me they had been watching two different birds.  I never did see one, but a few minutes after standing there a Brown Creeper emerged from the back of the tree and went about its business of catching a meal, totally ignoring us.  He was so close that I had to photo-merge two shots to keep him in the frame.

The other big treat of the morning was sighting this American Bittern, a large bird that is remarkably hard to spot.  I was looking across the pond to see if there were birds along the edge of the pond when I spotted it right next to the road, so close I couldn’t see the lower part of his body and had to take two close-ups to make this shot.

I used to see American Bittern regularly at Nisqually before they removed the dikes, but I haven’t seen one in several years now.  So, it, too, was even more of a treat than seeing the Sandhill Cranes.

I had to wait until my afternoon walk to see this American Kestrel, a bird I see semi-regularly, though they’re considered an “uncommon resident” in the Puget Sound area.  I’m most apt to see them in Colorado, but I didn’t see one on our last visit.  This one was a long way away, so far away that I didn’t realize it was eating a Dragonfly until I saw it on my computer screen.

I sighted another (or the same one) Kestrel further down the trail and was able to get a much closer shot, though the clouds were getting thicker and the light was quickly fading.

Sometimes small, unexpected pleasures can make a day memorable.

One thought on “Unexpected Pleasures”

  1. Love seeing the birds there. We see American Bitterns out at the marsh every now and then. They are really such interesting birds, the way they blend in with the environment and often not easy to spot.

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