Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fun with some Utah winter birds

Juvenile Rough-legged Hawk
For my post this month I wanted to share some of the birds I have been photographing in Utah so far this winter, we have had very low temperatures, snow and our infamous inversions but that has not stopped me from getting out as often as possible. Yesterday while showing a friend and fellow bird photographer from Arizona around we found this cooperative juvenile Rough-legged Hawk perched on a bush at Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area. The Wasatch Mountains are in the background but the haze of the inversion we are currently having muted the mountains.

American Coot walking on snow-covered ice
This American Coot was also photographed at Farmington Bay WMA in early January, I love how this image shows the huge lobed feet of this species. The coots hang around open water and when it finally freezes over completely they will move to wherever they find open water.

Adult Bald Eagle landing on the frozen Bear River
Christmas Day found me photographing birds at Bear River National Wildlife Refuge, it was a crisp, cold day with very little traffic on the road which was delightful. This adult Bald Eagle had been resting on the frozen Bear River when it lifted off and moved a short distance towards the east and the morning light made the eagle glow.

Calling Chukar in fresh snow
It was wonderful to find Chukars on Antelope Island State Park towards the end of December, their beautiful soft colors and striking plumage patterns stand out so very well against the fresh white snow. It was an added bonus that this one was calling too.

Golden Eagle that was too close!
I don't often complain when birds get too close because it doesn't happen all that often but this Golden Eagle flew in too close for me to get the whole bird in the frame on Antelope Island State Park. I don't see these magnificent raptors as often as I would like so I was happy with this image despite the clipped wings and tail.

Great Blue Heron lift off
Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area has provided me the opportunity to photograph two heron species in the snow recently, one of them was this Great Blue Heron that had been resting on the bank of a creek that lifted off and moved a few feet further to the west. I love the shadow and the flying snow under the feet.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
The other heron species I have been seeing a lot of recently are Black-crowned Night Herons, this juvenile was resting on ice near some open water when I photographed it at Farmington Bay WMA and we had great views of its brilliant orange eyes and large feet.

Male Ring-necked Pheasant
I've also had ample opportunities to photographed Ring-necked Pheasants and they really stand out from the snow. The males are especially colorful.

Barn Owl in flight
Heavy snow cover and frigid temperatures have forced the Barn Owls at Farmington Bay WMA to hunt during daylight to find enough prey and calories to survive the harsh winter we are experiencing.

It sure has been fun to photograph these Utah birds this winter and it isn't over yet!



  1. Awesome captures here, Mia. You captured their unique beauty perfectly.

  2. Excelentes capturas,enhorabuena.Saludos

  3. Oh Mia, you got some outstanding images in this grand series. I especially enjoyed seeing for the first time ever the Chukars, and I think that Pheasants have such beauty in their feathers. Loved this entire post very much...well done~

  4. Looks like this winter has been a good one for you! Your photos are all incredible, Mia! Love the shot of the Bald Eagle!

  5. Thanks for the comments everyone! It has been a wonderful winter for photographing birds so far.

  6. Beautiful birds in sight, I love the Bald Eagle, superb.

  7. Mia, awesome birds and photos. The Barn Owl is one of my favorites. Happy Birding!

  8. I bird in the areas you've taken these photos. Your photos are magnificent and I appreciate them all the more because I know how adverse the conditions have been!

  9. Wow, you sure have seen some beautiful birds during the winter months! It's so very difficult to select a favorite photograph, as they all are exceptional!

  10. So breath-taking. I'm still kicking myself for never getting out on a bird photo shoot with you. I could have had some wonderful lessons.