Whiteout

A juvenile red-tailed hawk sits in a meadow in heavy fog at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Washington

A juvenile red-tailed hawk sits in a meadow in heavy fog at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Washington. The telephoto lens is exaggerating the whiteout effect as it is picking up all the fog between my car and the distant hawk but it illustrates the point: for an animal that might normally hunt by soaring high above the meadow and looking for voles below, a thick fog changes the dynamic between predator and prey.

An American bittern stands on a shoreline in heavy fog at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Washington

The fog didn’t have such an impact on an American bittern stalking the shoreline that winter morning as it looked and listened for small creatures both on the land and in the water. Sometimes it hunted by slowly walking up and down the shoreline, sometimes by standing still, but in either case the thick fog would not obscure the prey such a short distance away.

An American bittern looking into the marsh in heavy fog at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Washington

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