Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ridgefield NWR.

Yesterday at Ridgefield reminded me why I used to spend so much time there.  Lots of mammal action plus birds including lots of first-of-season species. 


Let's start with this fellow above.  This is a muskrat.  He is cute.  For those that get muskrats and nutria confused, here is a nutria:


Note the big whiskers, the ugly face, the big eyes (relative to the muskrat's), the white on the nose and face.  Ok, back to the muskrat.  This muskrat looked like he was just lounging around but really he was busy.  Him and his buddy were upset.  There was a snake in the grass.  And by a snake, I mean a mink.


The mink had a dead frog.  He stopped to check out the paparazzi, then remembered that he had pissed off some muskrats.



Unfortunately the frog got dropped in the chase.  The mink was determined to retrieve it, but that meant going back into muskrat territory.  He stared at me while he thought about this.


Once the muskrats returned to the water the mink made a mad dash for it.


Success!  The mink tore up the hill and ran across the dike at full speed, the muskrats none the wiser.


This was only my second time seeing a mink, the first back in May of 2010, in the same general area at Ridgefield.  Pretty freakin awesome.

This was all in my first thirty minutes at the refuge.  The rest of the day was a bit tamer.  Here are the birds...

Pooping creeper!  Can you find the white nugget?  

 Splittin Savannah Sparrow

 Coy kestrel


 Happy heron

 Murky merganser


 Excellent egret

I was very excited to see a distant coyote here- my first since fish and wildlife slaughtered them all for the introduction of the white-tailed deer.  I saw one of the deer also, with the huge stupid yellow tag.

A little Pacific tree frog was hanging out in the bird blind:


First-of-season bird sightings included:  Hooded Merganser, Ring-necked Ducks, White-throated and Fox Sparrows.  First-of-season human sightings included:  Christian.  I ran into him on the auto tour where we watched two power-walkers stroll by, one on her cellphone talking loudly about a recipe she was making.  WTF.  You're not even allowed out of your car here this time of year.  We couldn't figure out where they came from.


Good times!