Ridgefield NWR.

I had a lovely time up at Ridgefield yesterday morning, which you would know if you had liked my new Facebook page.  It was cold and sunny and pretty perfect.

Along the slough were birds like the above heron, basking in sunshine.

Pied-billed Grebe

Even this sapsucker took time off from sucking sap to soak in some rays...

As I was passing the entrance to the Kiwa Trail I spotted a small bird at the top of a tree up ahead.  I thought to myself, it would be really cool if that was a Merlin.  Unfortunately before I could approach I had to wait for a giant nutria to cross the road...

Once the hideous beast passed, and the dogs' excitement level dropped, I slowly approached the bird in question.  And a Merlin it was!

Merlins also enjoy a good sun-soaking session, but with just a hint of stink eye of course...

My bonding moment with this bird was cut short by an incoming marching band horn section...  Eight Trumpeter Swans were flying in and the sound was pretty incredible.  Check out my video on Flickr and turn the volume up!   

The Merlin took off amid the ruckus and I continued on down the road.

Red-tails, I think.

As I was exiting the ash forest I should have been paying more attention.  Why?  Because the female Vermilion Flycatcher I saw two years ago has returned and was seen yesterday.  But I did not know that and did not look for it.  Instead I was fawning over a distant Great Horned Owl, also enjoying the sunny day.

Perhaps the same one Michele spotted a couple weeks ago?  Other good birds around included Tundra Swans and Sandhill Cranes, a dark morph Red-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagles, oodles of ducks, and all the other regulars.

Good times!!


  1. Awesome sightings, Jen! The Merlin is cool and I love the swan shot! Happy Birding!

  2. Great that you spotted a Merlin, Jen! Don't think I've seen one yet. The owl was a great catch, too. It's been eluding me for the last couple weeks. I liked your FB page!

  3. Awesome Merlin sighting!!! I love the swans n moon shot that's supercaliflagilisticexpialidosish!!!! Im off to watch the Vid. Have a great TGVN if you're doing that.

    1. Thanks Sondra- I'm a sucker for birds in front of the moon shots.

  4. Great Horned Owl trumps a female Vermillion any day of the week, no matter how out of place the latter is ;-)

    1. Haha, owls > flycatchers for sure. Even if I saw the Vermillion I still would have been more pumped on the Merlin...

  5. Some great birds you were able to see. I love finding any falcons or owls. I like the photo of the swans with the moon in the same frame. I'm going to check out your swan video now.

  6. Swans with moon and audio? Well done.

  7. I'm realizing I've never had a good listen to trumpeters, only a few sightings at all. But a fave childhood read was The Trumpet of the Swan by EB White so I always picture them with toy trumpets and chalkboards around their necks. Thanks for the great video and audio!


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