Ridgefield NWR.

Yesterday morning I had an awesome time at Ridgefield.  It was a hunting day and it was a bit foggy so things didn't really seem promising at first, but it turned out well.  First off, Ring-necked Ducks were all over.  I find the females to be fairly fancy...

There were a few scaup around, so here I go again with trying to determine which variety.  I feel like I shouldn't be as confused as I am about these guys.  But anyway... I think this is a Greater:

A pair of Cinnamon Teals was in one of the ponds fairly close to the road...

While I was stopped looking at these guys I heard the unmistakable sound of a Trumpeter Swan.  I looked up to see three swans flying by though I have no idea if only one was a Trumpeter or if all three were.  Regardless, it was rad.

I walked the short trail to the blind but didn't find much besides a nice hawk silhouette...

As I was approaching the Kiwa Trail I had to pull over for a Ridgefield police SUV and a Fish & Wildlife patrol SUV.  I watched the drivers quickly hop over the gate and head in to the area.  I was kind of hoping some hunters had just shot each other or something, but I found out later an 80 year old hunter had fallen in some water.  The refuge guy said he was fine, just a touch of hypothermia. 

Back in the woods I found a light morph hawk that may have been the same one I saw back in Decmeber:

In the marsh just beyond the trees I kept thinking I was hearing a Sora.  Not sure what else it could have been- any ideas?  I spent a bit of time scanning the marsh trying to locate it but failed, though did come up with this little Marsh Wren...

Scanning the marsh also produced the highlight of my day:  my first Ridgefield west coast Swamp Sparrow!  He was perched on a cattail just chipping away not giving a damn about me...

Lastly, here's a muskrat being adorable while chowing down on blackberry branches and leaves...

I might have to borrow this fellow when my neighbors' blackberries try to creep back into my yard... Good times!!


  1. Ah... a delightful and amusing tale. =) Nice bunch o' birds. I assume you searched for sora vocalizations to listen to? (Or have some on some birding app?) I heart sora, tho' I've only seen them once, that I recall. I still remember EXACTLY where. It was PERFECT lighting. Had no camera with. And never saw it again. Good way to spark a crush. =)

  2. Swamp Sparrow!?! I need to hitch a ride up there with you one of these times. You always find the best birds.

  3. Sounds like a great birding outing, Jen! I feel the same way about hunting and hunters. I wish they were not allowed to hunt on wildlife refuges. The Cinnamon Teal is beautiful. I love the cute Marsh Wren, adorable photo. Great post and photos, have a happy weekend!

  4. I was right there with ya; hopin,,,,,and speaking of guns, just how powerful does the gun need to be to kill somebody? When the law was written they carried muskets and powder horns right? LOVE the Cinnamon Teal so pretty!! And congrats on the Swamp Sparrow!

  5. Way to stay with it! Birding near hunters in the Salton Sea area was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my post-high school years.
    This is a solid list, lots of groups represented.

  6. Had to laugh at your hunters comment (glad to hear no one was mortally wounded though). Nice to see the Cinnamon Teal; haven't seen one around here.

  7. Cinnamon teal would be a lifer and a duck that I'd love to find. Great photo too!


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