Rich B Young

Images for the Year, 2013 are moved to this location as the year progresses!

Images are shown with newest being at the top of the list.



December 26, 2013

Watching the Internet for Birders to post current images tells the


Not much to report these days!

I did locate a couple of nice birds at Big Cottonwood Park on

Christmas day...

Sharpshinned hawk...




Spotted Towhee in dirty snow...




male Downy Woodpecker...




Going for a Russian Olive...




December 21, 2013


the Snowy Owl seen below was not 'in the wild'!

I photographed a "captive" bird some time ago, and re-discovered the image in my "Birds" portfolio.






December 19, 2013


Due to poor weather, I turned my attention to reviewing my

Harlequin duck images from the autumn of 2011.

I have selected a series of them to show here...

Harlequin Ducks in Utah...

September-November, 2011


Antelope Island Causeway, Utah,

a rare opportunity to capture images of rare birds!

For non-birders, the following images will likely be just a 'brown duck'.

But for Utah Birders, it's a Big Deal to discover one, let alone 3 of these birds.


On September 28, 2011,

Bryant Olsen discovered and submitted a record of the first Harlequin duck, seen on the north side of

the Antelope Island Causeway at the 1st bridge.


My series of photographs were taken on:

September 30,

October 3,

October 13,

November 6,

November 10,

November 16,

as seen below, in chronological order.


Image from September 30, 2013









Images from October 3, 2011




October 3



A 2nd Harlequin joined the juvenile male (R) sometime in early October, but, to my knowledge, no record for discovery

was submitted for the 2nd bird.


(The series of images below are from October 13, 2013)

Juvenile male: (R)




Oct. 13: Juvenile male standing...




Juvenile male (R)




Juvenile male stretch...





By November 6, 2013,

Considerable transformation of the male's plumage below:





November 6





November 6, the Harlequin pair...





November 6





November 6





November 6




November 6




November 6





On November 10, 2011, I discovered and reported the 3rd

Harlequin duck. Here they all are, in one frame, from that day.


bird #1 is Bryant Olsen's original Harlequin (juvenile male);

Rare Bird Record: click HERE


#2 is the 2nd Harlequin, appearing in early October;


#3 is the 3rd Harlequin I discovered on 11-10-11

Rare Bird Record: click HERE




Closeup of my 3rd addition, from November 10:




November 16 was the last day I saw any of these 3 birds!

Lots of speculation has arisen as to their disappearance.






November 16




November 16



November 16




November 16




November 16




November 16




November 16

It's very unfortunate that this bird wasn't allowed to complete his transition!






December 13, 2013

A brief drive into the brisk weather, to Sandy Pond, where most of the pond was frozen over.

However, the resident Great Blue Heron was posed on the fishing pier as was the case last year...




Common winter ducks like this pair of Canvasbacks are back...




A fly-by pair of Mallards were fun to photograph...




The male alone...




And, on the Jordan river, across from the parking lot, a pair of Barrow's Goldeneyes are back, just like last year!



20 minutes of brisk weather prompted me to cut this field trip short in duration!!





December 12, 2013

Perpetual Sub-Freezing Temperatures!!!

have kept me inside a warm home for days now.

So, I took the opportunity to post a series of images of a

First Winter Black headed Grosbeak, Big Cottonwood Park, September, 2013


I begin by showing a

typical male Black headed Grosbeak




A typical

female Black headed Grosbeak




I was quite surprised to discover what a difference there is in a


(3 examples below:)












December 5, 2013

Big Cottonwood Park,

after the blizzard,

under clear skies and sub-freezing temperatures.

Very few birds!

A couple of Juncos...




Fun little Juncos, several varieties... winter visitors to the park.




A few Cedar Waxwings were foraging on Russian Olives...




Western Red-tailed hawk...




European Starlings




Sharpshinned hawk...




Takes flight...




American Crows are somewhat rare in the park




And they decide to depart...







This is my first Hermit Thrush for Big Cottonwood park.




Another view...



I now recognize 4 separate foxes, and the one directly below is not the same as the one posted on Dec 3.











December 3, 2013

Big Cottonwood Park,

(A different Fox from the one shown above)

Peaceful Coexistence...

Fox and Horse




Horses and foxes coexist here...




Droopy eyes express a sense of safety for this fox.




The horse moves away, out of sight, leaving the fox alone...




But, is the fox truly alone, or are there other eyes watching it?




I am discovered!

And the fox stands, with its back bowed with tension!



No... what looked like tension becomes a body stretch, including a

"Little Red Riding Hood" Yawn!




Surprisingly, the fox decides to curl up again, in the same location!




This time I become the focus of attention!

People in the park have often expressed a keen desire to see a fox.


This particular afternoon, I took some of them to see this animal,

one of several foxes normally hiding there.


Many of the people said they had no idea that there were foxes, and thanked me for pointing this one out!






December 1, 2013

A unique set of images...

A Hawk, flying upside down to deter an attacking Magpie

high above Big Cottonwood Park





The hawk is in an upside-down position to 'cover his own back'!

(image not perfect, but, oh-well...)




November 30, 2013

Consensus Regarding the I.D.


Big Cottonwood's Red-tailed Hawk.


I was informed that the Red-tailed hawk I discovered at the park is

most likely a






There are more images of the Harlan's-Western Red-tailed hawk below, posted on November 24.




November 28, 2013

This month I discovered a male Northern Yellow-shafted Flicker at

Big Cottonwood Park, posted earlier.


(To 'non-birders' reading this:

Discovering a Yellow-shafted Flicker is a nice surprize for a birder!

They are native to the eastern U.S., whereas, the Red-shafted birds are native to the areas west of the Rocky mountains.)


Since I'm regularly finding intergraded Red-shafted x Yellow-shafted Flickers at the park, I decided to create a montage from my portfolio of Flickers, to demonstrate their differences:


Yellow-shafted males have a black malar (moustache), rather than the red malar of the Red-shafted;


they also have a distinctive red crescent on the back of their necks (see inset)


As I said earlier, there are a fair number of intergrades roaming

Big Cottonwood Park.

Below is a series of 2 Northern Flickers, a typical male Red-shafted, and an intergrade, marked with a red crescent on the back of its neck.


These 2 birds were going through all kinds of antics, over a fair amount of time.


It began with the 2 birds rotating around a tree, and with each complete circle they were dropping down toward the ground.














It ended with them taking flight
















Strange behavior, but interesting.






November 26, 2013

The Jordan River, around 2300 South, typically receives a sizeable number of waterfowl when all standing water freezes (January).

This year there are already many ducks, with good variety, including

a very special bird, a

Female Long-tailed Duck (Oldsquaw)!






November 24, 2013

Big Cottonwood Park seems to have its own Resident

Harlan's-Western Intergrade Red-tailed Hawk

these days, much to the delight

of dog owners who routinely visit the park, and tell me of their "discovery".


The hawk now occupies a prominent place in the list of priorities of "Must See" in the park

(with foxes still at the head of the list)




The Harlan's-Western Red-tailed Hawk has been routinely observed for over a month now...




It seems to be undaunted by the presence of humans and their dogs!



The adjacent fields have an abundance of prey...




As is seen here...(somewhat obscured by a chain-link fence!)















November 20, 2013

A rare bird for Salt Lake County, with the only other one ever reported being in 1992...



reported by

Rachel LeBlanc

The obliging bird continues to be seen in West Valley City, near

Lake Park Blvd, Lake Park

Below is a series from today:









The bird begins to poise its neck and body for diving...




Notice the neck extending...




The head is in quick downward motion...




Down it goes...




The bird re-surfaces a distance away.

Loons swallow their food while underwater.




A drink...





A final image illustrates the Pacific Loon's size by comparing it with these 2 American Coots.





November 19, 2013

Overcast conditions and a


Began my walk at Big Cottonwood Park this morning.

Unaware of me, the fox took its time to thoroughly





The noise of my camera's shutter made my presence known!




For a moment the fox came closer before disappearing...











November 19, 2013

The hawk seen below, from

Big Cottonwood Park, Holladay Ut., is a

































November 16, 2013

I've been lax on posting winter waterfowl...

Below are images of sea ducks, etc.,

from Antelope Island Causeway, on November 10,

beginning with a Surf Scoter landing sequence...



Surf Scoter

about to land...













Here's a group of Surf Scoters of various ages, not the most beautiful of waterfowl!







The Surf Scoter on the far left is a transitioning male. Notice the dark coloration, and the whitish strip on the back of his neck.







Another view of the male...




Compare the above male with this one in Breeding Plumage, I photographed in November, 2011 at the same location.

More to come below...




Various positions of the Male Surf Scoter from 2011 to provide examples of its appearance, from all angles.














Here's a female White-Wing Scoter!




And our current Black Scoter, at the Causeway!




Another view of the Black Scoter...



There were male and female Barrow's Goldeneyes also...




Here's the male alone...




Below is a series of images of a rare seagull,

a Sabine's Gull.




Although the gull was a great distance away, checking out a dead bird, I was impressed with the lovely symmetry as it touched down...




Here are several closups of the juvenile Sabine's Gull.







2 Boneparte's Gulls are seen behind the Sabine's Gull here.




A lone Boneparte's gull's reflection...




A surprise female Bufflehead duck skids to a halt...




Finally we see a Horned Grebe from my journey to the AIC.







November 14, 2013

Images from Big Cottonwood Park, where I've been looking for the Northern Yellow-shafted Flicker to appear in better light than I had on 11-7.

I didn't come away empty-handed...

I found another Red-shafted X Yellow-shafted male Intergrade

seen here looking like a typical male Red-Shafted Flicker.





Slight movement of the head revealed the telltale intergrade

red crescent on the back of the neck.




closeup of this marking that identifies the Red X Yellow intergrade.




Later, above me appeared a Sharpshinned hawk being harassed by a Black-billed Magpie, providing some interesting Birds-in-Flight images.
















Keeping an eye out for foxes, I discovered this one lounging in the sun.




I've not seen this fox before... it looked more like a fluffy child's toy to me!




It was slow to turn towards the noise from my camera's shutter.







I've been discovered!




Before I left the park, I found the Belted Kingfisher on its favorite perch...




She immediately took flight...










This is my best of the Kingfisher images...

and I'll end here.






November 13, 2013


The following is a

Lewis's Woodpecker

Aerial Feeding Sequence

with the bird capturing a flying insect mid air!












The Lewis's Woodpecker successfully caught the flying insect!












You photographers out there... Try it sometime!!













November 10, 2013

The Lewis's Woodpeckers seen below (Nov. 9)

Had some company of note:



A Black-billed Magpie...







Watching the woodpecker in action...




A Sharpshinned hawk buzzed the woodpecker from time to time...




But the bird that got all other birds' attention....




A huge Red-tailed hawk...




This predator caused the Lewis's Woodpecker pair to vacate!










November 9, 2013

Pursuing a pair of


at Tanner's Park, Salt Lake County today,

(These birds were discovered and the location shared by

Dick and Deedee O'Brien!)


High atop huge wooden power poles that parallel the freeway, a tiny head appeared...




On a 2nd pole a sizeable distance away, I located the mate...




I was fortunate in capturing both birds in the same frame here...

One has an acorn in its beak.




Even though these birds were extremely far away, I was able to capture a few good images...




Seeing that they were actively flying, I decided to

capture a series of Flight images, beginning here...
























This image shows some motion blur with the bird passing overhead.




November 7, 2013

On a day with poor light like when I located the

Evening Grosbeaks,

I discovered

Another RARE BIRD for Big Cottonwood Park today!


Male Northern

Yellow-shafted Flicker!




Likely my best image...

Notice the black malar replacing the red malar on Red-shafted Flickers.




Contrast the above images of a Yellow-shafted Flicker to this one of a male Red-shafted, taken the same day.












November 4, 2013

Not much in the way of birds at Big Cottonwood at present other than an accomodating Sharpshinned hawk (thanks Jeff!) in flight...








This bird was watching me closely...








OCTOBER 31, 2013


Being Halloween,

My Treat


a Dozen

Evening Grosbeaks

at Big Cottonwood Park!



Male Evening Grosbeak

October 31, 2013






October 30, 2013

Big Cottonwood Park provided a special treat for me today,

a small group of

Ruby-Crowned Kinglets!








Notice the tiny patch of red on its head




This bird did not display its crown, but I have other birds that did...













Now get ready for the showiest Ruby-Crowned Kinglet I've ever










































I've been amazed when seeing a huge 'colony' of

Black-billed Magpies

on multiple occasions at Big Cottonwood Park!

A classic 'pose'...





Interrupted by a 3rd Fly-in...









October 30,

I've been wandering back and forth between Crestwood and Big Cottonwood Parks these days, enjoying the gorgeous Autumn weather and colors!

(and a few birds like this backlit

juvenile Cooper's Hawk)




A comparison of plumage between a male Lesser Goldfinch (L)

and a female American Goldfinch

(Thanks, Kris!)




Closeup of a "Winter Male" American Goldfinch...




Juncos are now in abundance...




Interesting reflected light on this male

Northern Red-shafted Flicker





And there are plenty of Yellow-rumped Warblers most everywhere!





October 25, 2013

In over 16 years of photographing wildlife in Crestwood Park,

Today was a first, with the appearance of a

Belted Kingfisher!




The water volume in Little Cottonwood creek has gone from a trickle to a respectable stream...

There are obviously some small fish hiding there!

This female Belted Kingfisher was chattering, sitting on a twig over the water!




Another view...

the bird is in shadow with the background bathed in direct sunlight... Tricky to photograph!!



October 24, 2013

Cooper's hawk flyover at Crestwood Park,




A few closeup selections from the above series:




He's checking me out with his gaze!



October 23, 2013

Update on Birds in Flight at Crestwood Park

(along with 4 foxes!)

My best images today are of a handsome Red-Tailed Hawk that soared along the northern crest of the hill, adjacent to several large pines atop the hill there.

















































Finally settled...




I counted 4 separate foxes today...


















October 22, 2013

I've been having a grand time Focusing on Fotography

of Flying Flickers

and... yes... even Flying Foxes


Crestwood Park in Cottonwood Heights!

Such FUN!

A Northern Female Red-shafted Flicker in Flight




Another Female Red-shafted Flicker just landing.




A Sequence of a Female Red-shafted Flicker in Flight...



A Cooper's Hawk about to take Flight...




Cooper's Hawk...



A Western Scrub Jay with an acorn as its prize!



North America's smallest Falcon, the American Kestrel in Flight




A Yellow-rumped Warbler in Flight...




And now for my Fantastic surprise...

an example of a

Flying Fox!




The Fox was hunting small voles, catching them by 'pouncing' upon them in their underground tunnels.




Here the Fox had located its prey...



The Fox leaped high into the air, to come down swiftly on its dinner...

Thus, I fotographed a flying Fox today!






October 15, 2013

Recently there was a flurry of activity with the sighting of

several Greater White-fronted geese in Syracuse, UT.


At my request, my son-in-law provided the following image of his

"Lesser White-fronted goose"

from the


Dave's bird has been 'clipped', as the Brits say...

but we thought others would enjoy seeing this well-executed photo!

(about the size of a Mallard!)

Dave has added more images to his page



"London Wetlands Centre",

Click (HERE)




October 15, 2013

The southern migration ended abruptly at

Big Cottonwood Park,

but not without one final 'prize'...

A flyby


(not the best lighting conditions, with a dark bird against a dark, gray sky!)




So, I went 'south' also... to

Crestwood Park, north of Creek Road in Sandy, UT.


Under cloudy skies, I first met up with an

American Kestrel,

moving from one location to another...




I photographed a rapid sequence of the Kestrel's flight, then

combined the sequence onto one frame...




The bird ended up here, for a brief time...




Almost immediately, the bird became airborne again...




The Kestrel climbed in altitude...




and approached a tall Cottonwood tree...





and landed, to spend a considerable amount of time here.




After posting the above images, I received this email regarding the Kestrel's aerial positioning:




I know you love to discover things about birds through your lens, so open your kestrel image captioned “…and approached a tall Cottonwood tree…” and consider this paragraph from the book Birds in Flight by Carrol L. Henderson:


Alula Feathers

The fourth section of the wing is part of the leading edge on top of the wrist joint. It is called the alula and corresponds to the thumb on a human hand. Two to six stiff, concave feathers are attached to the alula. The alula comes into play when a bird lands at an angle of attack exceeding 16 degrees. When the alula is raised, it becomes a ‘slat’ that forces an intense airstream along the top surface of the wing. This prevents stalling as the bird’s forward speed decreases and the angle of attack increases even more. Finally, the angle of attack increases to the point that the bird intentionally stalls and the airstream over the top of the wings breaks away from the surface of the wings and the back. At that point, the bird uses its outspread feet, tail, and wings to slow as it descends to its perch.


Very nice image showing the kestrel deploying his alulas in a landing stall!


You would enjoy this book. Its subtitle is The Art and Science of How Birds Fly and is generously illustrated with Carrol’s photographs and diagrams illustrating aerodynamics.




Thanks to Kris Purdy, who has often 'fleshed out' my bird images with cogent explanations!









In all of my years studying Crestwood Park, this is my first time for a

Hermit Thrush!




Another view...




A female Downy Woodpecker announced her presence with her beak!




Crestwood has an enormous colony of

Western Scrub Jays!




Here, in flight...




At present, a fair number of Ruby-Crowned Kinglets are migrating

through the area...




And, Spotted Towhees are again in the park!




I'll end with this, 'up close and personal'

Spotted Towhee!










October 7, 2013

Talk about "Backyard-Birding",

Big Cottonwood Regional Park

certainly provides it for me!

Here are some recent 'discoveries', this time,

In Action


Visitors at the Park love to discuss sightings of these elusive creatures!




So, I accomodate by posting my most recent images of

Red Foxes




Now for birds...

A cute, tiny Townsend's Warbler, the 1st one I've seen there!




Another tiny, cute bird, a

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet in deep shadows,

that's about to 'move up in the world'...




Off he goes...




to a higher vantage point.




Here's another Ruby-Crowned Kinglet in direct sun...




Another view of this really tiny bird, with a wonderful song...




The bird is 'hovering' (in flight) here...




Here's an ultra-close view... notice the detail!




And this bird erupts into flight also...




Black-capped Chickadees

are true acrobats!




A side-view, with a mouthfull of sunflower seeds before takeoff...







Off he goes!




Black-capped Chickadee

before takeoff...




In flight...






I've been seeng large flocks of

Black-Billed Magpies...




So, I captured a few with my camera while they were in flight







This bird was eyeing me closely as it passed overhead...




Finally, let's look at an


evidenced by a telltale red crescent showing on the back of it's head,

which will be my next subject...

More to come....





October 2, 2013

I'm still concentrating on birds in

Big Cottonwood Regional Park

Yesterday and today I discovered a

CASSIN'S VIREO, so I have images in direct sunlight (yesterday)

and indirect (overcast) light (today).


Yesterday's Cassin's Vireo




Today's images, under diffuse (cloudy) skies helps create a

"Painterly" image.




Another Cassin's Vireo from today.








September 29, 2013

Although I've seen the foxes many times in Big Cottonwood Regional Park, they were most often running away, and ducking into the thickets.

Last evening I surprised the fox (with the white-tipped tail) and it began to dive into the thicket.

I spoke loudly to the animal, saying to stop, which, it did,




long enough for me to get a fine image of it!!




September 27, 2013

To those of you who frequent Big Cottonwood Park in Holladay, where we occasional meet and enjoy conversation about birds and such.

My discovery of a Tennessee Warbler in the park

is a 'big deal' in the Utah birding world.

I almost immediately began to receive emails from distinguished bird experts after I posted my images, such as this:


"You have a very nice set of photos of a first-fall Tennessee Warbler. That's a great find - they're quite rare in Utah"


Another highly respected responder said:


Clearly a Tennesee Warbler... Please submit this gem to the

Records Committee"


I did follow the advice of the latter expert; and my "Utah Bird Records Committee Report, Unusual Sight Record" has been duly filed:


It can be seen by clicking (HERE):






I've only kept a few images of the Tennessee Warbler here,

and I have posted the entire set of images (HERE)













September 23, 2013


Taking advantage to photograph migrant birds at

Big Cottonwood Park, Holladay, UT.,

over a span of 2 weeks or so, I have a sizeable number to post.


This post is for all those people (mostly with dogs) that

greet me during my multiple visits to the park.

These people are, for the most part not birders; but who have a genuine love of Nature.


I begin this post with images of the most talked-about, stealthy creatures that live there!




(Notice, these are 2 separate foxes, with one having a white-tipped tail)










I've talked about the "water snakes" seen at Big Cottonwood Park,

saying that there are no "true" water snakes in Utah...

only one of 3 species of Garter snakes that frequent water,

such as this one, living in the pond with the goldfish...




For any interested, look at the PDF file from

Utah State University

about these snakes, saying there are no "WATER SNAKES"

in Utah

by clicking



No shortage of Goldfish in the Park Pond!



Last year, I discovered these 2 snakes trysting... oops,

twisting in a Russian olive tree, close by the pond.





Let's move on to the current bird population!

I begin with pairs of birds not commonly seen together...

2 American Kestrels...




2 Belted Kingfishers,

conducting aerial acrobatics above the pond...

(What are the odds of capturing a frame that has 2 of these birds

in flight

at the same time?!)




The 'Resident'

Belted Kingfisher

in a tree west of the pond...





2 Cooper's Hawks...

on a cloudy day.




Close up of one of the Cooper's Hawks that lingered in the tree...




Overcast skies diminished the colors of these birds a bit...







Moving on to other bird species...

Here is a tiny Wilson's Warbler, curious about my camera.








A new bird for me, a MacGillivray's Warbler




another MacGillivray's...




There are plenty of these Nashville Warblers currently in the park...



Another Nashville...




Another bright Warbler is this

Yellow Warbler!














Still another 'showy' Warbler is this Audubon's

Yellow-rumped Warbler!




Another Yellow-rumped...

(I would have named it, 'Yellow-throated Warbler!)




I was able to get another striking specimen of the

Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warbler

(these birds have been nicknamed, "Butter-Butts" by birders)




Another pose...






On to other bird species,

Big Cottonwood Park has been alive with many female

Western Tanagers...

but absolutely NO males!




Here, a female Western Tanager is in a mid-jump!




I post this male Western Tanager from August for a comparison between the sexes. No males are around at present!




I was surprised to discover a Warbling Vireo at the park.




Another view of the Warbling Vireo



And still a 3rd view...




On another evening, with light fading quickly, I encountered another

Warbling Vireo.

This time, lighting and surroundings provided a

"painterly" result!




A sure sign of fall migration is the appearance of White-crowned Sparrows, like this adult male...




another view...




Here is an example of a juvenile White-crowned Sparrow, taken a day later at the same location.


Here is another sparrow, a

Chipping Sparrow,

not often seen in this park.



Another migrant sparrow I discovered there is a

(I hope I got it right! )

Brewer's Sparrow,




Another, for diagnostic purposes,




And a 3rd image, for the Experts to hopefully verify as a

"Brewer's Sparrow"




A Downy Woodpecker male was seen also




Sunflowers and Teasels are typical foliage seen in the park...




With Black-capped Chickadees

exploiting the sunflowers...











also 'home in' on the sunflowers...













Several species of


are migrating through the area...










With one Flycatcher occupying the same territory as a









Lots of Hummingbirds, such as this

Black-chinned Hummingbird

are still in the Park...




One day recently, I spotted a 'Hummer' on a twig, focused my camera on it, to have the bird go airborne.

I followed its antics with my lens, to see later that it was feasting on tiny flying insects!

Note the tiny black dots surrounding the bird in the following sequence!




Here, the "Hummer" homes in on a particular airborne fly!






Fun to shoot such a series!




Big Cottonwood Park now has seen its first


that are making inroads throughout the United States, and beyond!



Northern Red-Shafted Flickers

are now returning to the park,

and many will overwinter here,

such as this male, vocalizing at the time of the image.




These birds spend lots of time on the ground, searching for insects...




But also forage in the trees...




Looks like this male

House Finch

is mimicking the

"Bird with an Olive Branch"...!




And is far different in appearance from its mate, the

Female House Finch

seen here!









September 10, 2013

Images from only yesterday...


When I encounter birds to photograph, I usually come home with lots of good images, from which only one or 2 of each species are chosen for posting.

What happens to the others?

They are archived, likely never to be seen again!


Below is an image from this July, taken with the

Canon SX50 point & shoot camera,

which, by its design, provides exceptional 'depth of field',

superior to what a more expensive DSLR camera does, using the same aperture (equivalent).

(It should be noted, that ALL of my images are captured with cameras that are hand-held!)


On an overcast (low light!) day, both an American Goldfinch (back) and a Lesser Goldfinch were photographed, with a noteable distance between them, and they are both in focus!





September 9, 2013

It's "Warbler" time, with several species migrating through now...


Townsend's Warbler has been an elusive species for my camera.

I have yet to acquire some really notable images of them...

Female Townsend's Warbler




Another image of the same bird...




a 2nd female...




Here is an Orange-crowned Warbler...




And, a favorite of mine, the tiny Wilson's Warbler




Another image of a Wilson's...




The Yellow-rumped Warbler is a striking bird also.








September 6, 2013

This dry, sun baked skeleton of a pond, located at the Kennecott Nature Center, Murray/Jordan River Parkway,

says it all!!!


In the 5 years I've been walking there, this is the only time it has dried up! It was a treasure trove of excellent birding 'till now!




Walking southward along the river produced only a very few birds...






Mill Race Pond had only one form of life... a sun-basking turtle.





September 1, 2013

Such a Hot, Difficult Summer!

Birding has been difficult these days!


Below is an example of an American Kestrel that was stressed to the point that it perched with mouth agape, and wings held a distance away from her body!



Another angle...



A bit closer...




My attempts to find a better location to walk/exercise/bird landed me at

the Murray/Jordan river Parkway where this

dark morph

Redtailed Hawk was seen.




On the river I located this Spotted Sandpiper



Likely a juvenile.




Luck would have it, the bird took flight here.




I went southward, to Lehi, Ut., along the Jordan river, to a location named,

"Powell Lake",

which, in truth, is a side pond south adjacent to the Jordan river.

Here we see another Spotted Sandpiper with spots!




Powell Lake had no shortage of Gulls...




A non-breeding Franklin's gull...




Several Juvenile Franklin's gulls...




A juvenile California Gull...




Along with a White-faced Ibis




2 of them...




Here, a juvenile Great Blue Heron sports a smallish bullhead catfish.




There was no shortage of Great Blue Herons on and around the lake...








and, again.




And, finally, I spotted a juvenile Black-Crowned Night Heron!









August 25, 2013

A fortuitous moment as a Western Kingbird took flight...

For me, this has been a good year for locating Western Kingbirds.


August 21, 2013

The only bird of significance was a

Western Tanager

at Big Cottonwood Park, Holladay, Ut.


Under overcast skies it provided several nice images, seen below














August 18, 2013

Before all the Bullock's Orioles exited my Jordan River study area,

I had one last encounter with a juvenile, here eyeing a wasp!




This bird was very tolerant of my camera snapping away,




Moving about within the lush green of a Cottonwood tree...




Here, playing peek aboo...







The bird provided sharp, detailed images




Including it's exit,

which represented the last Oriole for me this year.





August 18, 2013

A few other birds kept my camera busy along the Jordan Parkway, during our record-breaking Summer heat...


Cooper's Hawk in the old dead tree south of the Kennecott Nature Center classroom.

front view...




Back view...




I always welcome the opportunity to photograph a

Neotropic Cormorant perched in the old dead tree,

here's an adult, non-breeding example.




Walking in Holladay's Big Cottonwood Park, off Murray-Holladay Rd.,

I located a female Belted Kingfisher, determined to take one of the many goldfish there...




On an overcast day, I located my first Western Kingbird


Big Cottonwood Park.




Along with a stealthy juvenile Black-headed Grosbeak...




But, the bird that provided the most fun was

this juvenile female American Kestrel yesterday (8-17)




She seemed curious, and would fly short distances to a new perch...




providing me with this gratifying BIF


image as she left...






August 9, 2013

Birding along the Murray/Jordan River Parkway

has been disappointing these hot days...

Exceptions were when I encountered both

American and Lesser Goldfinches gorging on thistle seeds!


Here is a breeding male American Goldfinch encircled with

thistle blooms




On the contrary, here is a juvenile male

American Goldfinch munching on a seed...




Here the juvenile appears to be mimicking

the stance of a vulture!




This particular day was overcast; and

I love the result of





The male appears to still be in the process of

acquiring adult plumage




And, finally, we see the juvenile in action with the thistle pod.





Ironically, the same seed pod that the above American Goldfinch used was promptly overtaken by a male Lesser Goldfinch!




Same bird...same location.





Juvenile male, among the field of thistles





To me, this bird is likely saying Grace (lol)




In the process of harvesting seeds...
















A fun little bird to photograph!




Here are 2 juvenile Eurasian Collared Doves, accompanied by

an adult (far right).




Here is a closeup of a juvenile in sunlight.




Another closeup, a Juvenile Western Kingbird!




July 17, 2013

Looking Back...

(1 YEAR)

In July, 2012 Karin Kirshhoff and I located a


In the pond adjacent to the Kennecott Nature Center Classroom,

Murray/Jordan River Parkway!

I posted our discovery immediately; providing a number of birders the chance to view the bird.

It only lasted one day!





In this image the Green Heron extended its neck...

Looks like a different bird!




July 12, 2013



With Whimbrels being so common along the Monterey Bay shores

(both Asilomar State Park, and Pacific Grove, California,)

I was reminded of my first Utah Whimbrel (rare for here!)


Antelope Island Causeway, (Great Salt Lake State Park), Utah

August, 2010


This image shows the Whimbrel probing the sand with its head twisted in a bizarre way, with a Long-billed Curlew in the same frame:





The 2 birds approached each other (Whimbrel on left), providing an excellent opportunity for size comparisons,along with other distinctive features.


(Occasionally I.D. confusion arises between

these 2 species. When seen together there are obvious differences.)




When the Utah Whimbrel took flight, I shot a burst of images, then composited them here...





Regarding Whimbrels along the Pacific Coast in California,

one evening

I was literally surrounded by them!






June 29, 2013

I'm quietly chronicling the activity of Neotropic Cormorants on the Murray/Jordan River Parkway...

They have abandoned the side ponds along the river and now enjoy fishing and socializing along the river.

One pastime they enjoy there is: "Pass the Stick"


Please be patient while the video loads...

Notice the pink gular pouches being displayed (social signalling)







June 22, 2013

Too bad the G.S.L. Audubon Field Trip I led in May wasn't scheduled for RIGHT NOW!!!

Things are really "Hopping" along the Murray/Jordan River Parkway!

Below is an example, with Bullock's Orioles fledging everywhere!!


Bullock's Oriole hanging nest...

(Most nests are better hidden!)





Life is emerging from within these nests...





This adult female

was busy gathering food, but no adult male was to be seen in this scenario.





The baby Orioles have climbed out of their nest

and were hopping from limb to limb.

2 fledglings are represented in the images below...









The fledglings were actively moving around within the tree.




Closeup of one of the fledglings...





Mom showed up with food...

(Far from optimal for photography)




Another Bullock's Oriole family elsewhere along the river,

has a Male parent actively feeding the babies...




Here is one of the fledglings being cared for by both parents.




Another fledgling...





Here's Dinner!!





Another view...





Unfortunately the young Oriole was hidden behind foliage here...





The adult Male feeding the fledgling





This fledgling appears to be a bit overweight!





The short tail strikes me as humorous!





The striking Male parent, seeking out more insects...






June 22, 2013

Newer images of the "Mystery" dove (left), in company with a Eurasian Collared dove:




"Mystery" dove alone...




June 16, 2013

Murray/Jordan River Parkway...

Compare the Eurasian Collared Dove (left) to a possible

African Collared dove

(Ring Necked Turtle-Dove)


This light colored dove stood out markedly when it flew with other Eurasian Collard doves!


A close view of the special dove...




Another view...




A close view of the 'normal' Eurasian Collared dove...







June 14, 2013

My Walk along the Murray/Jordan River Parkway

netted me...

A group of Brown-headed Cowbird Males!!!




Along with a Western Kingbird...




The location of this Neotropic Cormorant is a first for me...


Since my discovery of NECOs in northern Utah in 2009, that discovery and all subsequent discoveries by me have been in the 'side-ponds'

associated with the Jordan River, NOT the river itself!





I'm aware that non-birders read my website; so this is directed to the "birder" segment of my audience:

Neotropic Cormorants are more commonplace these days, compared to those earlier years.


Even so, it is exciting to discover and photograph one in a "Classic" setting such as this, on the Murray/Jordan river span of the Parkway!





I was told by participants of my recent

G.S.L. Audubon-sponsored

Jordan River Field trip,

that there was a "resident" male Gadwall with a broken wing on the river.


Here it is...




It is doing quite well maintaining itself by foraging in and around the river...





A male House Sparrow was stripping bark fragments, likely for nest building...





In flying away, it was having difficulty in seeing where it was going!





But the highlight of my walk occurred when I saw this distant bird...




Focusing a bit closer, I could see it was a Cooper's Hawk about to take a bath!








It begins to do so here...









It never immersed itself like other birds I've photographed bathing...








It finally became more active...


















This Hawk truly never did much more than get his feet wet!!




It abruptly stopped,

waded over to the edge of the gravel bar, then looked over it's shoulder to see...




A group of Canada Geese that had designs on the gravel bar!










June 8, 2013

Having gone to Ogden to do some architectural photography,

I took a side-trip towards Farmington Bay's 'Glover Lane'.


At a great distance, I discovered a pair of Cinnamon Teal...




I relied on my tiny Canon SX50 to magnify up to 200X here...

Drake Cinnamon Teal.





Hen Cinnamon Teal




My photography earlier called for 'dress up' clothing, so my images were all collected from my car.


Overhead, Western Kingbirds were easy to find...








Along with shorebirds at the entrance to Farmington Bay WMA

Black-necked Stilt




And a nesting American Avocet.

This is my favorite image from the day, using the little Canon.









June 4, 2013

Activity Along the Murray-Jordan River Parkway


Begins with the arrival of 3 new

Neotropic Cormorants


Mill Race Pond!

NECOs are still considered 'accidental' (rare).





Along the river, my FOY

Western Kingbird





An "Alien" dove...

"Eurasian Collared Dove"

High above the Kennecott Nature Center Classroom








A gang of Lesser Goldfinches, with the male to the left




A Male Lesser Goldfinch, closeup




At the pond at the Kennecott Nature Center, Murray, UT.,

here is a Spotted Sandpiper




Another view of the Spotted Sandpiper




And, still another...




A Snowy Egret arrives at the pond...




Notice the blue coloration of the white feathers.

It is caused by blue skylight reflecting into the bird's shadow.



At the Nature Center Pond,

A Barn Swallow is carrying a feather, possibly for nest-building.




Another view...




Another, quarrelsome Barn Swallow in flight, and the perched bird lost the feather!




These images were taken within milliseconds of one another...




The airborne bird passes through...





leaving the perched bird alone, sans feather!








June 2, 2013





My primary purpose for visiting Powell was to document the Least Tern,

rare for Utah, and the smallest Tern.

Seen here behind an American Avocet (for size).




Other birds included:

Bullock's Oriole Male

along the adjacent Jordan River Parkway





Snowy Egret in tree...





Another angle...




A Long-billed Dowitcher...





Here, accompanied by a Least Sandpiper

(They look like they're in 'lock step' in these 2 images!)




A tiny Least Sandpiper alone,




Least Sandpiper doing a 'stretch'.




An Eared Grebe in Breeding Plumage...




A Franklin's Gull...




Another angle...




An adult Ring-billed Gull

who has seen better days...




A pair of Ruddy Ducks, male trying to sleep...




A Red-breasted Merganser...





Another view...




Left: Semipalmated Plover,

Right: Spotted Sandpiper




An ultra-closeup of the SemiPalmated Plover resting.




A series of 3: Black-necked Stilt, looking (to me) like

a cartoon character!








American Avocet... is it nesting or simply resting?





A group of American Avocets foraging...





Here they are beginning mating behavior.




A Marbled Godwit...





A Willet...





The Willet in a series of flight images...













American White Pelicans...




A Lesser Yellowleg...




A female Wilson's Phalarope...









Wilson's Phalarope pair,







Sandhill Cranes...





An Osprey...





A Swainson's Hawk...




A Forster's Tern completes my retrospective from Lehi, UT.


June 1, 2013

More "Critters" from Crestwood Park!

My 1st Fox for this year!




The oft-seen Cooper's Hawk...




A Yellow Warbler...




A Chipping Sparrow...




A Juvenile American Robin...





An Olive-sided Flycatcher...





A Western Wood-Peewee.






May 21, 2013


Crestwood never fails...

This time of year it's loaded with Black-headed Grosbeaks in

mating mode!

Male Black-headed Grosbeak during its serenade.





Here is its mate, taking a bath in the rising Cottonwood Creek.

















Here she is, gathering nesting material...








The male leaves his perch...




A Downy Woodpecker announces its presence with drumming.




But more fascinating is the discovery of a pair of Northern Flickers, with the male being an intergrade Red-Shafted X Yellow-Shafted...

(Notice the telltale Red Crescent on the back of his neck.)




With a typical Female Red-Shafted Northern Flicker...





I happened upon this pair while they were mating...





















Another bird I succeeded in collecting a nice array of images,

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher...
















These birds are difficult to photograph, since they are so active!












Last Blue-Gray Gnatcather for today...





Black-Billed Magpie...




Black-Capped Chickadee...





Spotted Towhee...





Another, singing...





Still another, singing...




I really enjoy photographing these birds!





This Western Scrub-Jay intrigued me...





I call him, the "Old Bearded One"...

What a character!





A male California Quail...





A handsome Black-chinned Hummingbird...





Another view...





I complete my current Crestwood images with a flashy

Western Tanager!





More Crestwood Creatures from the past can be seen









May 11, 2013

Arriving at the location for the Least Tern early yesterday morning, I watched as photographers appeared, to form this group.

Others had come and gone earlier, during my stay.




Earlier, before the crowd, I was able to capture some refreshing BIF images of the tiny bird at its resting place, which included reflections!
















I did take the opportunity to capture one more set of images of the Least Tern fishing:







Coming up 'empty beaked'...




Concurrently, some Forster's Terns also arrived, and I 'focused' on this one's antics:




This bird was concerned with some object above it!




and continued its concern, causing me to look up myself.




I then saw the reason for concern... a hovering Red-tailed Hawk!




With the hawk moving on, the Forster's Tern got serious about fishing.




It also became quite vocal...




Before it dived in the tiny southernmost pond...




Facing away from me upon emerging, I couldn't see if the Tern was successful...




But, when it streaked over my head, I captured this image of its

"double header" capture!

Two fishes!




At the same pond later, the 'resident' Snowy Egret had been fishing,

when I noticed it scanning the sky above...




Again, as with the Forster's Tern scanning the sky, I was rewarded,

this time with the appearance of a gorgeous Swainson's Hawk!







MAY 9, 2013

Images of the Least Tern,

where I was able to identify its

likely food source

Powell Lake (ponds), Lehi, UT.



a rapid fire sequence of a Least Tern, taking a tiny fish from a side-pond:




















What food has attracted this bird, causing it to pause here for a time?










It is the ubiquitous


Gambusia affinis

used extensively locally for mosquito abatement.


The tiny side-ponds that ring the larger south pond are stocked with these fish.

I observed Snowy Egrets also taking these tiny fish in 2 of the smaller ponds.

Richard Young





May 8, 2013

Jeff Cooper discovered a rare "LEAST TERN" in Utah County, with Bryant Olsen relocating it yesterday!!



Least Tern, "Powell Lake", Lehi, Ut.

Notice the size difference between the Tern (bkgd) and a Semipalmated Plover here:




Another bird size-comparison...

American Avocet and Least Tern




Utra-closup using Canon SX50


Please remember, this bird is the smallest of Terns, about the size of a





I challenged myself to capture this diminutive bird, both in flight;


catching tiny minnows!




Another dive...




Up and away...




Now, a series of the bird in flight...

lots here; but I've edited out tons of good ones.










































April 19, 2012

As you read down to the older posts,

you'll notice my attempts of Birds in Flight with the Canon SX50 Point & Shoot camera.Up until today, I had lousy lighting for such attempts.

TODAY, I had a crystal blue sky (albeit cold/windy!) at

Sandy Pond


Image below: as your eye would see it...




At 1,200mm (optical)

Double Crested Cormorants




At 2,400mm (digital in-camera expansion)...




At 4,800mm (digital in-camera expansion)...




The Ospreys this day were spectacular!





A fortunate accident... inclusion of the Moon (series)!














My favorite of the images above...





Osprey success...




Caspian Tern wanting some...




Caspian Tern having fishing success!




Look closely and you'll see it has a fish.




Beautiful bird against a blue (finally!) sky!




All taken with a reasonably priced Canon SX50 camera!





April 18, 2013

A trip to Sandy Pond, in gale force winds, to test my 'toy' camera in


produced some fun stuff.

2 Ospreys

were being bombarded by a pair of American Avocets, hovering above the water!




Strong winds, and a "bald" (Cloudy) sky provided more of a test than I had hoped for!




A patch of blue sky helped with this image




Outside of view,

a Peregrine Falcon caused worry to the Ospreys also.











However, the Ospreys were most successful in capturing recently stocked Rainbow Trout








A Caspian Tern took its "turn"...





and a pudgy American White Pelican showed up also!

Birds in Flight, using my 'toy' (Canon SX50).








April 15, 2013

2 Special birds from the Farmington Bay area:


1) Horned Grebe in the process of transitioning into Breeding Plumage

2) Hybrid Teal (male Cinnamon X Blue Wing)


Before I begin the current series of Horned Grebe,

take a look at a

Horned Grebe,

non-breeding plumage, in January, Sandy Pond:



and the current bird at Farmington Bay,

(thanks Christine)

Horned Grebe,

breeding plumage transition!

(about the only thing these 2 birds have in common is the white tip on their bills)
















The Hybrid Teal was first posted by "Shyloh"

located in a temporary 'puddle' on the east side of the road near Glover Pond










This was taken with the Canon SX 50 camera



This hybrid was 'spooked' from the area along with all the other Teal,

only to have them return within minutes, with an increase in numbers!

The all-male action was lively, due to the presence of a single female!

(notice the hybrid teal, center-front)




There was a breeding frenzy for a brief time...




The female can barely be seen, center back.

This frenzy kept up until...





The female became airborne, having the entire group follow her!

see insert





The 'boys' followed her into flight...


Female centered



Closeup of female, somewhat blurred.

I believe this is a female Blue-Winged Teal

The gang circled twice, then disappeared!






April 13, 2013

A Series of Male Red-Breasted Merganser Images


Willow Pond


(no commentary here, just a series of good, strong stretches!)
























Must've felt good!

Cool bird!





Contrast the Male above with this Female Red-Breasted Merganser








For those of you who frequent Big Cottonwood Park, be on the lookout for a

male Wood duck on the pond.








March 29, 2013

A First of Year bird for me (FOY)

I encountered a Turkey Vulture having lunch in a field off

Glover Lane!





From "Buffalo Ranch trail" (Davis County),

I located 2 Eared Grebes in different stages of Breeding Plumage.




From another year, here is how "Breeding Plumage" looks when complete...




Another example...




Here is a Great Blue Heron from the pond at "Buffalo Ranch"...








March 28, 2013 at Willow Pond, I photographed my

FOY Caspian Tern





With a cloudy sky, the bird was a bit tricky in processing






March 27, 2013

Mill Race Pond, Taylorsville, UT.

was the site where I located 3 Neotropic Cormorants

yesterday, March 26!




since they are rare here.)

This is the largest number of NECOs reported at one place this year.


One of the NECOs was the original found there in Feb. (see below)





The 2 newest birds stayed together at all times, separate from the bird above for some reason.

Back view...





Front view





Separate images of the 2 new birds:

Bird on left...





Bird on right.





I was able to successfully photograph all 3 of these birds extensively, including a fair number of Birds-in-Flight, such as this:














March 26, 2013

Sandy Pond is adding new birds these days

American Avocets are preparing for a family on the tiny island





My first Western Meadowlark for 2013





Holdover Waterfowl:

Greater and Lesser Scaup males

(Greater (L) is considered a good find).





The Greater Scaup Male alone...




Greater Scaup (L); Lesser Scaup (R)








March 25, 2013









March 21, 2013

This will be the last segment on Winter Migratory Birds along the Jordan River, since most of them are long gone now!

I located another male Greenwing Teal on the river, providing me with

numerous images!

(Canon SX50)




Sunshine this day enhanced the iridescence sometimes lost...




A slight change of position renders different colors.

Lovely birds, fun to photograph.

(Canon SX50)




A Male American Wigeon has some iridescence also...

(Canon SX50)




(Canon SX50)





I jokingly say that when GOD designed the Mallard,

this bird was HIS first draft!

Drake Northern Shovelers


NOTE: the bird in the foreground is a 1st Spring Male!

(Canon SX50)




Female Common Mergansers here...

(Canon SX50)





Canvasback ducks frequent the river in Winter, as seen here.

(Canon SX50)

Notice how well the camera accomplished a satisfying dynamic range

(detail in shadows and highlights simultaneously)




Muskrats are quite common on and around the river;

however, this one provided me with my best-ever images.

(Canon SX50)





I have a nice series of this Muskrat out of the water!

(Canon SX50)





On a cloudy afternoon, typical for March, I located some Gadwalls

on the Murray/Jordan River walk.


(Canon SX50)






(Canon SX50)





Gadwall pair...

(Canon SX50)










March 19, 2013


(A View of the Jordan River on a typical March day...)

(Canon SX50)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the majority of images posted (for awhile) are from a relatively inexpensive Point-and-Shoot camera.

The reason: a forthcoming Workshop on Bird Photography.





The first weeks of March continued with a good variety of waterfowl...

(Canon SX50)




Redheads, Scaup, and others shared the water

(Canon SX50)

(Notice the Depth-of-Field that this little camera provides)



A Lesser Scaup pair...

(Canon SX50)




A pair of Redhead ducks...

(Canon SX50)



Female Ring-neck ducks posing...

(Canon SX50)




A resting male Ring-neck duck 'reflects' (pun)...

(Canon SX50)



Common Goldeneye Males:

Breeding plumage (L); 1st Winter/Spring (R)

(Canon SX50)





Bufflehead Pair

"I've never seen such coloration on the male!" ... a viewer comment.


Being frontlit, this 'rainbow' coloration is the rule rather than the exception.

(Canon SX50)




A Close-up view of Bufflehead Male's specular light coloration...

(Canon SX50)




This March day saw a hatch of flying insects, which prompted dozens

of Cedar Waxwings to become 'flycatchers', winging out from a tree, catching flying insects, and retiring again to their designated tree.

(Canon SX50)





For this segment, I've saved the best for last...

Teal... a favorite of mine...

With a Pair of Cinnamon Teal here...





And 2 male Green-winged Teal here...

(Canon SX50)




A "Crop" of the closest bird, to demonstrate the capability of the little <$400 camera I was using...

(2,400mm equivalent, hand-held)

(Canon SX50)

Please note!!! I shoot RAW files, then employ Photoshop CS6 for post-processing



March 16, 2013

I have been asked to present a Workshop this year, for the

Great Salt Lake 2013 Bird Festival.

The entire Festival proceedings are listed


My Workshop will be held in the

"Kennecott Nature Center" classroom,

adjacent to the river.

It will address birding/photography along the Jordan River Parkway.

It will be immediately followed with a Field Trip along the river.


Two major features will be emphasized:

Introduction of birding opportunities specific to the Parkway;

Photographic technique and EQUIPMENT RECOMMENDATIONS for birders, with an emphasis on photo-quality with modestly priced cameras!

For that purpose, I've been photographing with a reasonably priced


(By clicking the above text you can read an extensive report on this camera)

I've been using the little camera (pleasant to carry) on my recent bird/walks.

The outcome will be used in my Workshop; and online, here.



NIKON-PRODUCED IMAGES, and I will identify which is which.

For example:


March 16, 2013

The Ruddy Ducks along the River are quickly transitioning to their breeding colors:

Taken Feb. 2, Jordan River/Sandy UT.





Transition in progress!

March 14, same location

(Canon SX50)






Ruddy Breeding Plumage

(for comparison)

Sandy Pond, May, 2010







Recently, many of my images and comments

have described an affordable camera for birders, the

Canon SX50 HS.




Part of its zoom feature is accomplished using

in-camera digital expansion



Below are results...

a series of images, hand-held, ranging from 1,200mm through 4,800mm magnification

Belted Kingfisher

(Big Cottonwood park pond)



1st image:

1,200mm optical magnification, no cropping





2nd image:

2,400mm digital (in-camera) magnification, no cropping





3rd image:

4,800mm digital (in-camera) magnification, no cropping





A Second Series, with Canada Goose


1st image:

900mm optical magnification, no cropping




2nd image:

2,400mm digital (in-camera) magnification, no cropping




3rd image:

4,800mm digital (in-camera) magnification, no cropping




A stationary turtle at Kennecott Nature Center pond:

Views, beginning with a "normal vision" image

(what the scene would look like with the naked eye)


Normal Perspective (what the eye would see):

50mm, no cropping





1,200mm optical magnification, no cropping





2,400mm digital (in-camera) magnification, no cropping





4,800mm digital (in-camera) magnification, no cropping





An American White Pelican on Willow Pond lent itself to my experimentation:


Normal Perspective (what the eye would see):

50mm, no cropping





1,200mm optical magnification, no cropping





2,400mm digital (in-camera) magnification, no cropping





4,800mm digital (in-camera) magnification, no cropping





An area I'm only beginning to explore...

Birds in Flight

with the Canon SX50 camera.


My first attempt: 2 Peregrine Falcons chasing an American Kestrel, Sandy Pond on an extremely low-light day!


Peregrine in flight against heavy cloud cover





Continuing a series with this bird, in rapid succession





Extremely low light available on these!






This image shows the dim light I had to work with, photographing

Peregrines that can achieve speeds of 200mph.

Pay particular attention to the huge tower (center-left)

The 2nd image below shows the 2 falcons... this represents

Normal Perspective (what the eye would see):

50mm, no cropping




Both birds decided to rest, on the huge pole (left of center)

1,200mm optical magnification, no cropping





In conversation with a birder recently, he told me he was not that impressed with results he'd seen posted from the Canon SX50.

He remarked that the camera did provide enough information to make a reasonable long-range Identification, but not much else!


Often, images for Bird I.D. have not been carefully executed... image quality is secondary to
"getting the picture" to VERIFY a bird's I.D.



One more comment regarding this camera, aimed at more advanced bird photographers:

The Canon SX50 HS camera is the FIRST OF ITS LINE to capture "RAW" 16 bit images, providing an enormous advantage for image improvement in Post-Processing!





March 14, 2013

Jordan River Parkway, adjacent to Sandy Pond...

Surprisingly, a pair of Barrow's Goldeneyes are still present!

Cool little birds!!

(Canon SX50)






March 7, 2013

Raptors from today...

Juvenile Redtailed hawk, Van Winkle Parkway, Murray UT.




Several images of a Prairie Merlin


Murray/Jordan River Parkway:










March 6, 2013

A Bird Convention at Mill Race Pond!

NECO, DCCO, and lots of Mergansers concentrate on the floating device favored by the cormorants.

(The 1st Common Merganser seen behind the cormorant was previously observed at Willow Pond, with

fish hooks lodged in its beak!)




A closer look at the "hooked" Merganser, still surviving after at least 3 weeks.





Speaking of Common Mergansers, this female serves the purpose of illustrating detail lost when presenting images on websites!

Compare this image showing the entire bird...




to this crop (same image), showing just the head.

See the marvelous detail lost when posting small images for websites!


I take great pride in producing images like these with

bird photographers' "Entry Level" equipment!

Most serious bird photographers use lenses that cost well over $4,000.

Mine (used) was $900.


Nikon 300mm AFS f4 lens with 1.4 Teleconverter,

unfortunately, no image stabilization (VR).

Magnification: 420 mm


I've also been experimenting with an inexpensive

Canon Point-Shoot camera (SX50) (currently under $400).




March 3, 2013

Neotropic Cormorant at Mill Race Pond continues...

This time, fate provided me with the direct comparison of


Left: Neotropic Cormorant,

Right: Double Crested Cormorant





The following image is



I've written considerably, with visual evidence, about

the significance of gular pouch coloration differences

between NECOs and DCCOS.


Today I succeeded in capturing BOTH SPECIES


This image reinforces my postulate:

PINK gular = NECOs




What's the significance of pink gular sacs/NECO characteristic?

When Juvenile Cormorants possess "yellow lores" (such as is seen in "1st Spring NECOs"), it has been assumed

they are Double-Crested cormorants!



(see this Field Guide PDF by Cin Tee Lee, who debunks this myth:)




Below we see a 'First Spring Neotropic Cormorant'

(distinguished by itsYellow Eye Ring)

standing left of another NECO (BOTH SAME SIZE).


Some would label this bird a juvenile DCCO!

Sandy Pond, 2010





However, notice when the juvenile becomes agitated, it


as a


by displaying its




(Before being agitated...)

Sandy Pond, 2010

(After being agitated, with Pink gular pouch extended!)










Close Up of Eye Ring!






February 27, 2013









among Double Cresteds at Willow Pond!

(Which is the NECO?!)



February 25, 2013

A Double set of Surprises at Willow Pond!


The First Documented Sighting of a Neotropic Cormorant on this body of water!

The 3 Double Crested Cormorants (common) were joined by an "Accidental" Neotropic Cormorant (considered rare).

The NECO is obviously smaller than the DCCOs.





The 2nd great surprise was the arrival of another Tundra Swan!

I photographed one earlier (yesterday); and this bird is different.

You will see the first Swan from Feb. 24, below as you scroll down.

Study it closely and you'll see it has the yellow markings below the eye... this one from Feb. 25 has little or no coloration there!




Another image from today (Feb 25)... There are so many to choose from!!!





February 24, 2013

Willow Pond, Murray Ut. has been a study area for me for 5 + years, during which time I've photographed a wide variety of birds there.


But today was special, I photographed my first




February 24, 2013

Normally I wouldn't report seeing Double-Crested Cormorants

even though their appearance is a bit early.

However, recent sightings prompted birders to seek them out.

On Friday, the 22nd, I found 3 of them on Willow Pond; thus I report it here to provide a 'heads-up' for those who looked earlier but missed seeing them.





February 23, 2013


I succeeded in photographing 2 possible "Cackling Geese", midair above

Willow Pond, Murray Ut.!

Short bill, Steep head, visible white ring-neck, noisy with higher pitched calls, and small.

Best image below:






February 20, 2013

Here are a few of the Sandy Pond/Jordan River waterfowl, beginning with:









































February 19, 2013

I photographed a Greater Scaup Male Duck,

on the Jordan River Parkway adjacent to Sandy Pond recently.

I also captured images of both the male and its female Greater Scaup.


The image below is a comparison of male Greater Scaup (L) with a male Lesser Scaup (R)





Male Greater Scaup






Another image, Male Greater Scaup...





Female Greater Scaup here...





Male/Female Greater Scaup, Jordan River Parkway near Sandy Pond





Another treat for me...

A pair of Barrow's Goldeneyes were close by!




February 17, 2013

The Annual Jaunt To Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area,

Looking for Eagles, Seagulls, and such!





The Bald Eagles were there on this sunny, snow covered landscape.





A brute of a Glaucous Gull, being all-white, stood out clearly, here vocalizing for others to stay away from its meal





There will always be someone approaching at dinnertime!





Both gulls chose to vocalize...




The disturbance provided me with the Glaucous Gull flight image!





Northern Harriers were well represented this bright day...





And a female Common Merganser was present also.





A 3rd Winter Western gull was easy to pick out from the other gulls...





Below is a string of Gulls in flight... just fun images that I haven't identified (although Herring gulls are well represented).
























February 12, 2013


Recognition and Photos of a

"Male First Spring Common Merganser ",

the time in the bird's life when its markings transfrom from female to adult male.

More images of this bird can be seen




February 9, 2013

Today's snowy weather prompted me to post a

Redwing Blackbird Battle Sequence,

from last week along the Jordan River!




























The 2 birds continued until they had toppled to the ground.

Both recovered and went their own way!






February 8, 2013

A Heads-up for anyone roaming Big Cottonwood Park,

The White-throated sparrow is alive and well there...

(by the culvert where the tiny stream enters the vegetation-laden pond)







February 6, 2013

Be prepared to see an amazing visual experience, featuring

2 Great Blue Herons at Sandy Pond, Sandy UT.,

where the larger of the 2 birds was defending (quite successfully)

its territory









February 5, 2013


Those of you who travel the VanWinkle expressway, east of 9th East,

(Salt Lake City),

Watch for this beautiful "intermediate (RUFOUS) morph" Redtail Hawk!

It appears most every day along that route in the tall Cottonwoods.














Contrast the Rufous with this Redtailed hawk, Sandy Pond





A Male Common Merganser dropped in at Sandy Pond!




Common Mergansers at Sandy Pond are not common!

(American Wigeons are...)




Common Merganser Male





The Horned Grebe has shown up again...





The Jordan River Corridor, adjacent to Sandy Pond, boasts an inordinate number of Northern Harriers at present!





A Harrier, hunting across the river from my viewpoint, eyed a female mallard...





In an instant, the Harrier attacked and killed the Mallard, then stood on the bird's head until I moved on!








February 2, 2013

My Best Shot from Today... Jordan River

Female Common Mergansers in Flight!







February 1, 2013


A Prairie Merlin,


Big Cottonwood Park!

(not much else; and the sky was still "bald" (cloudy)!

Oh, well, maybe tomorrow...



January 31, 2013


My first (lifer) Bohemian Waxwing photo, from Big Cottonwood Park,

(I've posted it before)

A very special image to me, what with the bird being in flight, carrying a Russian olive in its beak!

Yet, all the twigs in the foreground obscured the beauty of this image!

Knowing that I'll likely never do better on this species, I decided to do what I could to improve this image!


Before image edit...

After image edit...




Below are numerous images of a White-throated Sparrow...

Why? Because it is rare here!! (and it's kinda cute!)


JANUARY 22, 2013

As of today, I've succeeded in locating the White-throated Sparrow at Big Cottonwood Park 6 consecutive times, the most recent provided another 'action' series where the bird collected Russian Olives for food!


The Sparrow as of 2:30 P.M., 1/21/13:





The bird was foraging, thus moving around a bit...









Here, the bird flew/jumped to snatch a Russian Olive.





Successful with the olive, the bird promptly flew out of sight.





There were 2 Cooper's Hawks in the same area...

Here's the first one...





And the 2nd one! Most of the other birds vacated the area, making it easier for me to spot the Sparrow.





JANUARY 21, 2013


Below, we see the White-throated Sparrow, images like others have posted of this rare bird.








Now we depart from the typical static images of this bird, to observe it

taking a bath in sub-freezing conditions!
























Now to another special bird, the Bohemian Waxwings!





In Flight!!!









Such a lovely species!





Up Close and Personal!





Digressing for a moment to the ubiquitous Cedar Waxwing,

lovely in its own right...





I have been collecting images of various species

Eating Snow,

such as these 2 Cedar Waxwings!





Also, this Bohemian Waxwing is seen eating snow.





For any who aren't birding enthusiasts, such as many of the people walking their dogs at the park, I show the difference between the Bohemian (top) and the Cedar (bottom) Waxwing species.





Moving on to other species I've photographed yesterday, here is a

Great Blue Heron that I've seen overhead 3 days in a row at Big Cottonwood, against a smoggy sky.





Again, another ubiquitous species presently at the park, the

Evening Grosbeak, here looking quite 'painterly'





Contrasted by this 'in your face' image, looking like something out of

Prehistoric times!





A constant resident at the park, the Black-capped Chickadee,

also looking quite 'painterly'










Many visitors to the park see one of several American Kestrels, and ask me about them. I inform them that the birds are the smallest of North American Falcons.

The reason I'm going into such detail here is, the 'non-birders' also access my website.





Yellow Rumped Warblers are quite constant residents there also.





Along with the Spotted Towhees...





The Black-billed Magpies...





And Robins, Robins, Robins.... EVERYWHERE!











January 16, 2013

A Rare bird, along with some other nice birds from Big Cottonwood Park

Some time ago, Jack Binch discovered a "White-Throated Sparrow"

At the park.

Today, I succeeded in adding its images to my portfolio!


White Throated sparrow...




Another view...





And a 3rd image...





Some glimpses of the resident Virginia Rail...





Another view,





"Deedee" and I encountered a cluster of Evening Grosbeaks at this time also...





And, last but not least, a lovely Bohemian Waxwing!
























January 14, 2013

Cedar Waxwings,

Having a community-bath in Creekside Park/Big Cottonwood Creek

Recently, I had an opportunity to capture images of Cedar Waxwings en masse,

in Big Cottonwood Creek.

There were dozens of them, thoroughly enjoying themselves!

And, so was I, given this exceptional opportunity, with the birds totally ignoring my presence!

Later, seeing my results on the computer was disappointing!

My state-of-the-art Nikon had failed me, creating images that were lackluster!

The birds blended into their surroundings, which was not my experience!


Today I reviewed my images and decided to refresh them to look like I saw them

that day!


I must say, the experience of watching these birds was




Roll your 'mouse' over the image to reveal the outcome... Before and After







January 10, 2013

Some interested birders met with me to have a 'hands-on' experience with

The Canon SX50 HS camera at Sandy Pond, at which time there was a plenitude of raptors harassing the waterfowl!

Peregrine Falcon in the sun...




Several Bald Eagles were using the Jordan River Corridor as a source of food












Foxes were hunting from the golf course to the north...




Canvasback ducks stay out of harm's way...











JANUARY 8, 2013

Experimenting with the tiny Canon SX50HS point & shoot camera,

using it for Birds In Flight...

The only 'target' available were 2 Peregrine Falcons trying to capture an American Kestrel!!!


(NOTE: Minimal available light with clouds and fog prevailing; and the Falcons moving at 60+ mph!)





January 6, 2013

Cold, Cold temps and foul air has kept me housebound, except for a very

brief moment at Sandy Pond!

Drake Pintail ducks





Horned Grebe




Horned Grebe making waves...







JANUARY 1, 2013


Handsome Redtailed Hawk




American Kestrel




Spotted Towhee



Evening Grosbeaks are back!




My 3rd Bohemian Waxwing!




Northern Red-Shafted Flicker male




Yesterday marked the 9th Northern Red X Yellow Shafted Flicker Intergrade for me within the time span of 12 months!

My intergrades (most recent is directly below) are different from my posts of the full-fledged (pun) Yellow-shafted Flickers, (also down the page).

Regarding my Yellow-shafted Flicker, one birder responded privately saying, "Not only enjoyed your great photos, but also appreciated the details outlining how to I.D a Yellow-shafted Flicker. Thanks!"


I now wonder if some might not know what to look for on intergrades!

I've circled the red crescent on the back of this bird's neck, characteristic of an intergrade!