On my first visits to Ridgefield I spent little time at Long Lake, a narrow sliver of a lake near the start of the auto tour, as there never seemed to be much going on. Over time though I better understood its rhythms and it is now one of my favorite locations.
One unique aspect of this lake compared to the others are the dead snags near the road, shown here a couple of years ago as the sun was about to rise over the frozen lake. I choose a snag I most want to photograph and park the car precisely to get the background I want, then wait to see if anything flies into view. Many times I wait in vain, or find that I chose the wrong perch to watch, but the successes are worth the failures.
I have a particular favorite near the road for photographing small birds. It is in some ways a microcosm of what I love so much about Ridgefield, for like the refuge itself it isn’t beautiful or grandiose, rather easy to overlook and easy to pass by. But it lets me view my subjects up close without disturbing them, a window into a world I would otherwise never see. I got these closeups of a barn swallow on that snag. A tree swallow and violet-green swallow too. A common yellowthroat, a hungry red-winged blackbird fledgling, and so many more.
So I was crushed to arrive at the refuge this winter and discover it had fallen into the swamp, along with a few other favorites too. I knew this day might come, I had seen others succumb in the past, but this one is a bit hard to take.
A sad goodbye to, and a fond remembrance of, an already dead friend that is now truly gone.