Today I drove down to Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge to scout locations for the final field trip for Beginning Birding 2. Leading my own van trip is a big deal for me; on Audubon trips to Malheur I've driven participants in those big fifteen-passenger vans but I was an assistant, not the "real" leader. I want to make sure everything is right for this trip. I can't control the weather or the birds but I can do my homework and pick the stops with the most potential for good birding. This was my first visit to Ankeny and I highly recommend it. I have not yet visited the third refuge in the Willamette Valley Refuge Complex, Finley NWR, but it is now higher on my list than before. Here are some images from around the refuge today.
Male Cinnamon Teal
The Rail Trail features a long boardwalk through the wetlands. This took me an hour on my own so with the group it will probably take two.
Male Ring-necked Duck
There really is a Marsh Wren in this photo.
The Masked Bandit of the Marsh hypnotized me with his powerful gaze. I broke free just in time.