|Red tailed hawk|
|Immature bald eagle|
In the waters were some more coots and one pied-billed grebe (#55). Off in the distance were some more swans and a few Canadian geese. More water and more coots and a nice ring-necked duck. Further down in some open pond and grass areas we saw tons of cackling geese (#56). Cackling geese can easily get mislabeled for Canadian geese but they are smaller, have a higher pitched honk and a shorter bill. Driving on we saw a couple more tundra swans, more coots, pintails and shovelers. In the air was a northern harrier scouring the fields for lunch along with groups of geese and a small flock of swans. All in all there are thousands of birds in the refuge and we saw a good bit of them. Just before finishing the driving tour is an open field and we saw a well fed coyote hunting and catching some lunch. Only a 4.2 mile drive but it took us almost 3 hours, no sandhill cranes, but very memorable.
It was only about 2:30pm when we got back so we thought we'd try another area a bit further north called La Center Bottoms. We found our way using back roads--it was probably about 10 miles away in the town of La Center. They have nicely done an area by the river that flows through town with a good trail with a couple of viewing blinds. The problem was as soon as we got out of the car we heard gun shots. Good bird viewing and gun shots don't normally go together but we were there so we headed down the trail. We saw a great egret (#59) just when we arrived but when we got close enough to take some photos it flew away. There were some great blue herons but that was about it. The gun shots continued so we turned around after a bit and headed back. I did see a golden-crowned sparrow and some black capped chickadees in the wooded area and while I was watching these a Anna's hummingbird (#60) flew between Rudy and me and hovered for a moment next to a fir tree and then flew on. That was an unexpected delight. The first hummer of the year for us!
It was about 4pm by then so we headed north for home stopping in Chehalis for a pleasant dinner at the Kit Carson restaurant just off of I-5. We made it home about 7:30pm. We saw hundreds of birds but only added 9 new to the list. Still, it was another good day.
Here's a video with some fun images of the birds we saw.