The last time I went to Oaks Bottom, back in January, the temperature was in the thirties, and I had to call it quits when my fingers couldn’t feel the buttons on my then-new camera. It was much more pleasant this time, with summer scenes of wildflowers, singing sparrows, cedar waxwings, and a downy woodpecker nest.
It was great to get back to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge on a sunny and dry day with the seasonal trails open (except for the Kiva Trail where a Sandhill Crane pair had nested over the winter and hatched a colt). We parked at the Ridgefield Kayak Launch and walked into the Carty Unit to the Headquarters, and then back to the car for a circuit around the Auto Tour at the River S Unit. We saw amazing birds all along the way — and heard many more.
Last year we had a crow’s nest in our front yard, and we were able to watch the entire process, from nest-building to fledge. This year, we didn’t spot the nest, but there was a crow pair coming and going from a neighbor’s fir tree in a familiar manner. Over the past couple days, we heard some different vocalizations from the pair, softer and shorter, calling out from low branches in the neighborhood. This morning, we watched this young crow in our backyard, hopping up on chairs and clumsily flapping back down, and ultimately working its way up to the top of the kids’ climbing structure, before taking a long inelegant glide to a distant raised bed.