Ordinarily the tall green grasses that grow each year at Ridgefield are my enemy. As the spring progresses, the grasses get so tall that they block the view of many of the ponds around the auto tour. On this day, however, they became my friend.
As I walked the short trail to the observation blind, a nice couple saw my camera and pointed out a treefrog next to the path. It was clinging to a tall blade of grass amidst the other foliage. The frog was much more tolerant than other treefrogs Iâ€™ve seen at the refuge and I eased my tripod into place until I found a nice pleasing green background.
As other visitors came up the path, I passed on news of the frog as it had been passed to me, backing out my tripod so everyone could get a good look and take their own pictures. I ended up taking fewer pictures than I normally would have but even so ended up with one of my favorite pictures.
This is the female barn swallow that was paired with the male from the earlier pictures.
Despite the pairing, she rebuffed his two attempts at mating (or at least having a bit of fun). Females tend to have lighter coloring in the chest than the males, which was pretty obvious in these two.
I took this picture with my big telephoto lens while standing on a little wooden bridge on the Kiwa Trail at Ridgefield. Before I bought the lens a couple of years ago, I debated long and hard on whether it was a worthwhile purchase.
When I get my first time machine, I’m going to pay a visit to that past self and slap him around a little bit for waiting so long to buy the lens, it’s become a real favorite of mine.
A male barn swallow stretches out its wings while perched on a cattail. All swallows have long, swept wings, but here you can see a feature unique to barn swallows: the long thin tail feathers that stick out even past the long wings.
I went to Ridgefield again this past weekend (try to contain your surprise), heading up to be there when the gates opened at 6am, a little too far past sunrise for my liking. I had hoped to photograph blackbirds again and did get a few of a singing male red-wing in the beautiful light, but in general the birds weren’t too active so I headed further into the refuge.
The Kiwa Trail is open this time of year and even though I rarely get any good pictures on it, I wanted to see if the turtles or frogs were out and about. They weren’t, but near the end of the trail I met a pair of barn swallows that were building a nest under one of the wooden footbridges. They were remarkably tolerant of my presence so I spent the next hour watching them until the beautiful light was gone.
This is the male, they tend to have darker chests than the females, watch this space for more of both of them as I got a handful of pictures that I really like. Compare this picture in the early sunlight to a similar picture on an overcast day in a different part of the refuge. I like both pictures, and despite what it might seem barn swallows really don’t spend a lot of time with their mouths open.
So far the plants I moved a few weeks ago are all doing fine. I’m glad I got them established as we’re in the midst of a record heat wave.
I had moved about about a dozen strawberry plants that were growing too close to the fence, and not only did they survive but every one of them is blooming! Even the littlest one has a nice white flower that came up during the week.
We’ve got a couple dozen plants now, all propagated from the few sickly survivors I rescued while clearing the forest of weeds when we bought the house. They responded well to getting more sun when the grapes were pulled up and last year produced a number of offshoots. The berries from the original plants are quite tasty and I have high hopes for the new ones, providing the slugs save a few for me.
The blueberry bush I moved has also survived and this week started to put out a few flowers. It isn’t the sunniest spot in the yard but better than before. If it does well I might move the other two next year into more sun near the raspberries, but I’ve avoided doing anything near the house since we’re getting a new roof in a few weeks and I figure there will be some plant casualties as they work.
If these transplants prove to be a success I’ll try something more challenging, like kidneys or livers.