“Watchable Wildlife” according to the brochure.
Katherine and I recently took a trip up to the coast of Oregon. On the way, we stopped at Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The brochure lists (on twelve pages) the birds that can be found there. Though we didn’t see twelve pages of birds (summer is not the best time for viewing birds), we did see some cool bird activity.
A bright yellow flash caught our eye before we’d barely begun our walk. I was able to get a quick photo before this American Goldfinch flew off.
As we walked, we saw several egrets hunting in the sloughs.
When they weren’t successful, they’d fly off to find a better spot.
Black Phoebes were also flying around. I asked this one to fly toward me so I could get a good photo. It must not have heard me.
I spent more time than I should have (we were on a little bit of a schedule) trying to take pictures of Barn Swallows in flight. These kind of photos are still a work in progress. It’s hard to swing a heavy lens around to follow their fast, darting flight.
Cedar Waxwings, looking like bandits, were easier to shoot.
And, as often happens, my favorite shots happened at the end of our walk.
I had put my camera back in the car when Katherine said, “Get your camera! Cedar Waxwings in the tree!”
I grabbed the camera and saw two Cedar Waxwings perched near each other. I took some photos.
Then I saw one with a berry in its beak.
“A female Cedar Waxwing,” I thought.
Luckily, I didn’t embarrass myself by verbalizing that identification. When the bird turned its head, I realized that it was a juvenile Cedar Waxwing.
This bird had some of the characteristics that Katherine and I have come to associate with juvenile birds: a spotted or streaked chest, an oversized-looking beak (the feathers are not yet covering the edge of the bill), and a habit of looking up at the sky for a parent (“Mom? Dad? Where are you? I’m hungry!”).
Later, I would look up Cedar Waxwings and verify that a) this was a juvenile and b) the female and male of the species look similar.
This juvenile had managed to “catch” its own lunch. (Click on a picture to see a larger view.)
Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge is well worth a visit. Katherine and I would like to go again when we have more time and when we can expect to see more birds (winter or spring).
In my next post, I’ll have bird pictures from Manzanita, Oregon, where we spent a week enjoying the Oregon beaches during Katherine’s family reunion.