ridgefield national wildlife reserve

January 2, 2009

i visited the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, just north of vancouver, wa with my mother and aunt after thanksgiving.

first up, nutria! mother and baby:

nutria

nutria2
not long before we saw an adult bald eagle and several juveniles. these birds are huge!

baldeagle

this one was setting on a tree with a peregrine falcon (down there on the left)

baldeagleandfalcon

 

oh and we also saw this kestrel on our way to the refuge, a first for me in the wild.

kestrel

 

marsh

there were tons of ducks, mallards, a snowy egret and a merlin in this marshy bit, but too far for good pics.

flyinggeese

geese

 

redtailedhawk

so then we are passing through this scraggly forest area where there had been owl sightings of late. we crept along in the car (this refuge is one that you drive through and where for most of it you have to stay in your car) scanning everywhere. tons of hawks, no owls. then near a bend my mom spotted her sitting in a tree at some distance. looking right at us with the most beautiful orange eyes. my first wild great horned owl.

 
greathornedowl

i took a pic through the binoculars

greathornedowl2

 

there was allegedly a small eared owl in a different part of the park, but the stand of trees where it seemed most likely to be was too far away. and we had to be getting on, so we sort of skimmed over the last 1/4 of the refuge. there were lots of great blue herons and more nutria

nutria3

 

highly recommended for people interested in waterfowl and raptors.

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