This picture resonates strongly with me of my former home in the Pacific Northwest, a paradise dressed in blue and green. A tree swallow pausing from its aerial hunt on a rainy spring morning, tiny drops of rain beading on its tiny wings. The blue of the bird, the greens of the moss and lichen, the blue of Long Lake below, the green of the lush grasses at its marshy border, the meadow beyond. When I first visited Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge years ago the lake was full of snags near the road but one by one they began to fall. This snag was the last one near the road but eventually it too fell.
The coyotes were active on this winter day in 2006, using the heavy fog as cover to hunt a variety of prey. This one made a half-hearted, almost playful, attempt at a great blue heron I had been photographing, later I saw one running across the meadow with a goose in its mouth.
One of my favorite rites of spring when we lived in the Northwest was listening to the savannah sparrows sing in the meadows. I met this one on an Easter morning 12 years ago, I had to wait a while to get the picture as it spent most of its time facing the other direction, singing to the other sparrows.
Twelve years ago on a cloudy spring morning at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge I came across this muskrat eating the grasses at the edge of one of the lakes or ponds. I don’t remember where exactly and my notes back then were rather sparse and don’t provide any clues.
A song sparrow peaks out of the marsh on a rainy October morning at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. They are year round residents here in Arizona as well but I’ve yet to see one, though to be fair I’ve only been hiking in the local desert environment.