Oxbow NWR – Ducks in Trees

The weather forecasts were totally off today. But in a good way. It was sunny instead of cloudy and rainy so I made a spur of the moment trip to the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge. My luck with the weather spilled over to my field trip. There are always Wood Ducks at Oxbow but they are hard to photograph. They are skittish and usually fly off before I even know they are there. The area is a heavily wooded swamp so they have the advantage of detecting me before I can detect them. But this was my lucky day. I was alone and moving very slowly while scouting ahead with my binoculars. I was so inconspicuous that a pair of Wood Ducks flew in and perched fairly close by. Yes, Wood Ducks perch and nest in trees. It’s a little strange to see a duck sitting in a tree! Here are some photos that I managed to get by being extra careful in my movements.

Further along the trail I could hear the loud call of two Red-bellied Woodpeckers. It took a few minutes of searching with my binoculars but I spotted one peeking out of its nest hole.

Some other birds I spotted while on my walk:

A Cardinal singing.

The area was pretty wet so a Swamp Sparrow was no surprise. He’s on the lookout for a snack.

I guess the line between “bird photographer” and “voyeur” is pretty thin. Here’s an American Robin enjoying a bath.

Female Red-winged Blackbirds look nothing like the males. Most people describe them as a large sparrow.

If you have stayed with me all the way through this post, here’s a little reward. I went back to check on the Great Horned Owl and her owlet earlier in the week. The nest is an old heron nest in tree in the middle of a pond. It at least 100 yards from shore but I used my teleconverter to bump the focal length to 630mm and mounted the camera on a tripod to do the best I could to get a good photo. Then I got a little help from some software to sharpen up the image. Here’s the mom and baby.

6 thoughts on “Oxbow NWR – Ducks in Trees

  1. Nice job on the Wood Ducks! I’ve heard they nest in trees, but I don’t think I’ve even seen a picture of one in a tree before. I think their skittishness might be attributable to the location, which I think is more of a hunting refuge than a birding refuge.

    BTW, the pictures are back to their former large size in this post.


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