Friday, March 3, 2017

Red-wing Blackbirds at the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge

Yeah, spring is just a few weeks away. We were out at the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge a few weeks ago, and the Red-wing Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) were out in force, wing epaulets blazing bright red and yellow, singing their hearts out.
These birds can be hard to photograph, not because they are particularly shy (they're not), but because their black feathers absorb the light, and one has trouble getting anything but a black shape. Luckily, the sun was behind us and reflected well off their feathers.
The San Luis National Wildlife Refuge preserves the small percentage that remains of the vast wetlands and prairie that once existed across the Great Valley of California. It is a fascinating place to visit and to speculate on the changes we've made to the valley. It was so very nice to see water again in the places that have been so dry for the last five years (the refuges tend to be on the low end of priority when water is divvied out in California).
The birds appreciated the water too...

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