Oh Ridgefield!

A common yellowthroat looks out from a patch of cattails at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

I got up at 5am this morning with yellow on my mind.

Like last week, I hoped to photograph yellow-headed blackbirds up at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. However, the yellowheads were staying more in the interior of the marsh this week. I can’t say that I blame them, last week the red-winged blackbirds were harassing them a bit but this week they would mob the yellowheads mercilessly every time they came to the edge.

Even so, my morning did turn out to be about yellow — not from blackbirds but yellowthroats and goldfinches. After spending six hours at the refuge last week, today I stayed for ten hours. I would have stayed longer but the weather was supposed to be sunny and I had only played to stay for a couple of hours and hadn’t brought enough food and water.

Remind me to ignore the weatherman next time.

I took far fewer pictures than last week but my quarry was more elusive. The yellowthroats were staying mostly out of sight, and when they did pop up to sing they were either chased by the redwings or by other competing yellowthroats. I was ready to call it a day and about to start the car to leave when a goldfinch popped into view. That convinced me to wait a while longer but again was ready to leave when this male yellowthroat finally appeared.

I wish the out-of-focus cattail wasn’t in front of the cattail that he is actually clinging to, but I still think it’s a cute picture. I got a few others I was happy with so stay tuned for those, plus a few goldfinch pictures.

The Only One Not Singing

A barn swallow perches on a cattail with his mouth wide open at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

On a day I spent watching birds sing, from yellow-headed and red-winged blackbirds to song sparrows and marsh wrens, this little barn swallow was the only one not singing. After swarming over the lake hunting insects with the rest of the barn and tree swallows, he landed on this cattail for just a moment, opened his mouth wide a couple of times, preened a few feathers, then took to the skies once more.

I Don’t Think He’s Right But …

A petroglyph of a cat along the Rinconada Canyon Trail at Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico

Sometimes I think I take just a few too many pictures of my cats, but this glyph in the Rinconada Canyon at Petroglyph National Monument makes me think a kindred spirit once roamed these hills. Templeton thought it might be an image made of him, but I thought no since he was far too young. He said in human years yes but in cat years no. I don’t think that’s how it works, but on the other hand …