Trains and Ospreys in Ridgefield WA

Date visited: April 7, 2022

With the promise of a bright sunny day it was high time I got out to capture some pictures of trains. My first stop was on Columbia Blvd near St Johns, right where the railroad tracks come out of a tunnel under Mock’s Crest. Union Pacific and BNSF both have lines here that line up to the bridge across the Columbia River. I thought this would be a great location and I’d have my choice of pictures. Years ago I saw a train come out of this tunnel pushing and pulling the locomotives’ smoke. Here is the view from this trip.

Looking south from Columbia Blvd to the Union Pacific tunnel under Mock’s Crest.

I parked for about half an hour with red lights on one side of me and rail construction on the other. I figured the line was closed for maintenance so I looped around the peninsula. And I’ll be danged! As I passed under the rail line where it approaches the bridge across the river, there was a long auto transport train that had just pulled through the tunnel! Dang the luck! I need to be more patient.

I decided to head up to Washington to see what I could find. When BNSF closed off my old train viewing spot near the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge I found a place on Railroad Ave in the town of Ridgefield. As it turns out, I was there a year before in April 2021. After about 15 minutes I saw and heard a train coming from the north. I zoomed in on with my 18-300 lens when it was still far down the tracks.

Southbound train coming through Ridgefield, Washington

I lined up on my vantage point and got set. Click, click, click, click. There are some shadows from the nearby trees, but the sun was in the perfect position behind me.

Union Pacific garbage train southbound through Ridgefield

How about that! It’s a trash train. I think this is a daily train from Puget Sound that goes out the Columbia Gorge near Boardman to dispose of the area’s trash. Both Union Pacific and BNSF run these trains. With at least 200 stacked containers it’s a LOT of garbage. And the train must have priority because it was the only train moving in the hour I watched.

When the railroads don’t cooperate, at least the ospreys provide a show. There is a tall pole with an enormous Osprey nest on top just across the tracks, near the boat ramp. There were a pair of ospreys coming and going. When I zoomed in when I got home I saw they were nest building. Look closely and you’ll see a bunch of twigs and whatnot in his/her grasp.

Osprey bringing more material to the nest.

I don’t speak osprey but there were two pair that were flying around squawking at one another. I couldn’t get all four in the frame at once but here is one of them in the heat of the argument.

Osprey protecting or invading the nearby nest.

I got home in mid afternoon having had only the one train in my viewfinder. I haven’t had the best luck the past couple of years – but that just shows I haven’t been out enough.

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