A northern harrier perches above the marsh at Rest Lake, sometimes obscured in fog, sometimes not, as the sun struggles to break through on a winter morning.
When I bought the Canon 20D in March of 2005, after taking test shots of the cats I went up to Ridgefield to test the camera before going on a trip to Japan. A light drizzle turned into a heavier rain when I came across this muskrat swimming near North Quigley Lake. As I was in the car the camera wasn’t fully exposed to the rain, and I did my best to keep it dry, but I was still a little nervous as it was its first time outside and it didn’t have any weather sealing. Most of the pictures were blurry as the autofocus was still pretty limited, but I enjoyed the improved speed of the camera itself. I used the camera for years and the rain never did it in, even though eventually it would get partially smashed on rocks and have a gaping hole at the top.
Killdeer nest on the ground in a shallow depression, often in gravel or sand, which is a bit of an issue at a place like Ridgefield where a gravel auto tour runs beside the many small ponds. A killdeer had laid four eggs in this nest at the edge of the road near the end of the auto tour, where the camouflage of the eggs will work against the likelihood of them not getting run over when the parents aren’t on the nest.
Bullfrogs are voracious predators and not native to the Northwest but they are also a food source for a variety of animals that have learned to eat them. This large bullfrog was I think killed by a family of otters that came through earlier, it looked like one of them had caught the frog and eaten its front legs and a bit near the back before leaving. The heron was happy to eat what the otters left, dunking the frog a couple of times in the water (birds like herons and bitterns do this at times with their prey when near water) before getting it positioned in its beak where it could swallow the frog whole.