Sunday, February 19, 2012


A little cabin fever got us out to the Toppenish Wildlife Refuge this afternoon. 
The sign said the gate  opened at 5:30 a.m. and closed at 7:00 p.m.
It wasn't.

That didn't stop us. We parked outside the gate and took a walk.
Up at the gazebo there wasn't much to see.
A few ducks out in the marsh.

We took the wildlife trail.
Followed the stream. 
Startled some birds that took off in a flash of blue. 
Waiting silently was not enough to bring them back.

Farther along we crossed the bridge out into an area that has
 often been posted as closed when we visited.
More wetland.
A few ducks.
What do you see?
 In the distance I saw two white heads swimming along.
From where I was they looked like they were six feet tall.
Side by side with the ducks, maybe they were only five feet tall.

I had a better glimpse in the binoculars, but the zoom on my camera does not stretch quite as far. This is when I envy the folks with the huge lenses. I stop envying them when I remember how heavy they are to carry.

My very amateur identification is that these are tundra swans. They are distinguishable from the less common trumpeter swan by a bit of yellow on the bill in front of the eye. You can't see it here, but zooming in carefully on a couple of the photos it is visible.
 A couple of them appeared to be juveniles. The cygnets start out as a dirty gray. These are now nearly white, and you can see that the black color is coming into their bills.
Let's go soaring a bit.
All in all we saw these five or six birds in one pond, and possibly the same number in another post at a bit of a distance.

A good walk, good exercise, and so it was time for us to take off as well.


imac said...

From shadows of the bridge to the flight, what a super walk.

Martha Z said...

Nice! You did pretty good with that camera. I was out birding today with my old lens, the weight of the long one is a problem. That not withstanding, I think I will try to find a case that will make it possible to carry for at least a couple of miles.

RuneE said...

That is the old problem in photography: Carrying heavy equipment to be able to meet any situation or travelling light to enjoy more of the tour. I usually choose somewhere in between.

I think you did well this time.

PS Thank you for the comment - You have a keen eye ;-)

Gerald (Hyde DP) said...

Love the shadows in the top shot.

I was commenting on Rune's blog about the blogger captcha - I see it has been improved today so he said I should thank you for your efforts on this.

So many thanks.