March-April 2015








April 29, 2015

Today, I encountered my first-of-year male Bullock's Oriole; and he provided about 15 minutes of constant photography!

Here are a few images from today!






























Needless to say, I'm extremely pleased with my new Nikon 300 f4 VR-PF lens!








April 28, 2015

Yesterday, in bright sunshine, I walked the Murray-Jordan River Parkway...

In doing so I discovered a pair of 1st Spring Common Goldeneyes who are late leaving the area! (female-Left)




The female was very jittery and flew first...



With the male following...(the male's plumage is still in transition).




Stopping off at Big Cottonwood Park, Deborah's 'blonde' duckling is alive and well.



Here, stretching and flapping its tiny wings!



Compare these 2 Mallard ducklings' coloration with the above bird.




Cedar Waxwings are present in large numbers at Big Cottonwood.

I really didn't need any more images of them.

However, these 2 were in the process of passing food back and forth as Cedar Waxwings often do!

The bird on the left has a tiny green morsel in its mouth.



The transfer went from left to right...




A crop of the above image shows the tiny green food morsel in more detail.



The transfer continued to be passed back and forth in the following images.














April 26, 2015

Sitting under April clouds, I'm back to my marathon task of custom printing some of my better images (over 400 archival color prints of birds thus far!)

I'm now printing a few of my landscapes for my home; and their rainy day mood parallels what I see outside at present (albeit the seasons differ).

I'm sharing with you 2 of them from our local canyons!



(High up Millcreek Canyon in fog...)




(High up Big Cottonwood (Canyon) Creek, same day.)











April 25, 2015

April showers... very few birds in my area...


Time to look back at important images from an earlier time, this time with birds that were photographed on overcast days such as today.


Overcast days sometimes suck the color from a scene as seen with this rare (for Utah) "Little Blue Heron" from last summer.



The bird stayed in Farmington Bay for several days before disappearing...



It was foraging on tiny fish and crustaceans




A new (overcast) image of 2 male Mandarin ducks, taken very recently on Little Cottonwood creek in Murray (private property).

Mandarin ducks are scattered over the valley, quite easy to find if one knows where to look!






April 18, 2015

In the absence of the male Mandarin duck from Big Cottonwood Regional Park pond, could there still be a 'remembrance' of his presence in the form of baby hybrid Mandarin/Mallards?!

This postulate was expressed by Deborah Drain when she observed a clutch of Mallard babies, and noticed 2 unusual birds among them.


Yesterday, I photographed Deb's distinctive baby ducks for a 'baseline', hoping we have hybrid Mandarin-Mallard progeny among the brood!

Time will tell!


The lovely couple...



cruising together...



and, in-flight...




Recent Arrivals...

In the absence of the Male Mandarin...




One of 2 distinctive babies (foreground)...


Could be exciting!...







April 10, 2014

After several restless days of wind, yesterday I ventured out to Sandy Pond to see what birds have arrived.

A substantial number of Double-crested Cormorants were raising havoc with the trout population, along with a couple of American White Pelicans.




At first there was only 1 Pelican (my FOY)...



As Double-crested Cormorants would rise to the surface with a live fish, the Pelican would rush over and attempt to steal the fish!




The Cormorant has just quickly swallowed the fish, and the Pelican was obviously upset.



The Cormorants were fishing as a group here...




Others flew in to join them (This image shows the great detail my new camera system provides with Birds in Flight!)



This Cormorant flew over a new arrival, one of 2 American Avocets!



The Cormorant landed while...




The American Avocet pair looked on.




The Avocets decided to vacate the area, giving me the opportunity to capture their winged exit. (I'm quite happy with the outcome!

Thanks to a totally AWESOME Lens!)









Here the pair are in the same frame, with one just outside the area of focus.




Back to the American White Pelicans, here they meet up for the 1st time.




A bit of shuffling and they decided to be friends.



Spring was in the air concerning a pair of Ring-necked Ducks.









Other birds seen were: Belted Kingfisher



Another one...




A Double-Crested Cormorant decided to perch on top of the bird house.



Shortly after, a 2nd bird attempted to share the real-estate!



This did not go well, with the closest bird attacking the one newcomer!




Notice the new arrival was doing some "social signaling" with his yellow Gular Pouch!




This series took an extreme short time to evolve...




With the intruder exiting before the situation became worse!...




A Great Blue Heron, often seen at the pond, watched as the sun set.




One final note from yesterday... this was my first encounter with a Cormorant entangled in fisherman's line for this year!













April 6, 2015


A humorous grab-shot where a Northern Rough-winged Swallow whacks a male Ring-neck Duck upside the head while in flight!.

Coming up from behind the duck, the Swallow had the advantage of surprise!




A close up image of a Northern Rough-winged Swallow visiting us at the present time!












April 5, 2015

A stroll along the Murray-Jordan River Parkway provided a few new images...


The male Wood Duck stayed around for a substantial amount of time...

(and holds his own when compared to the alien Mandarin Duck)




The Mandarin Duck from Big Cottonwood Park is history now...




This male American Kestrel continues to reside on the Murray Parkway.




Male California Quail foraging on the path in Murray...




Along with the female of the species.




California Quail pair, head-on.




Killdeer are often seen nowadays also.








March 28, 2015


A Series of Favorite Images!

3rd installment...


(March 31 Note: I've added some images of older juvenile Pied-billed Grebes, and also older juvenile American Coots.

I believe there are lots of you who have never seen these stages of maturation within these 2 species.)

Continuing with a review of my image series being printed, I now turn to Springtime as it relates to newborn birds.

Here I submit some humorous images of a Pied-billed Grebe Family, with the youngsters temporarily looking like tiny tigers?!



A cloudy day shifted the colors; but they are still fun to look at here!




The parent shows agitation, with ruffled head feathers here.

(I'm sure you could come up with a funny caption with the 'child' driving the parent nuts!)




I've added 2 more images of juvenile Pied-billed Grebes, where they are almost adult size, but still wearing juvenile style feathers.

Adult parent: left rear; older juvenile: right foreground.



Older juvenile alone.




American Coot families look like someone had been playing with fluorescent spray paint!!




Up close, we can see 'what's for dinner'!




Some time later these same juveniles look like this!




Close proximity to a parent reveals considerable growth.




Cruising with Mom....



Juvenile foraging on his own...


more to come...








March 25, 2015


A Series of Favorite Images!

2nd installment... Bullock's Orioles!

(As before, the images I'm posting are ones I'm currently custom printing on Epson Professional Archival paper for display.)


The Jordan River Parkway is an extraordinary location for Bullock's Orioles each year!

Here are just a very few of my images from that location:

Male Bullock's Oriole




Female Bullock's Oriole after she discovered a favorite man-made source of nesting material... monofiliment fishing line, from which they create remarkable HANGING NESTS!!



"Let's see... where to start...!"



"This stuff it tough to break!"




During the 'fledging time' all baby Orioles leave the nest and move about, waiting for an adult to bring food.

Fledgling Bullock's Oriole



Adult Bullock's Oriole female (R)


















March 22, 2015


A Series of Favorite Images!


As the northward bird migration is still pending, I've been busy organizing and printing a large number of my favorite images,

(for sale)!


I decided to post a few of them as I go along!


The first series features a tiny Least Tern, rare for Utah, photographed in Springtime in Utah County.


Least Tern,

(smallest Tern)



Least Tern, compared to an American Avocet in size!



The larger American Avocet eyes the diminutive Least Tern closely!




Another image depicting the enormous size differences...




The Least Tern in flight is tricky to photograph!

Body measurements: length-8 inches; wing-span-21 inches.

and it is a fast flyer, diving vertically for small fish!




As seen here (tricky to do on a cloudy day)!

Look closely and you'll see a very tiny fish in its mouth!


As I await Spring Migration, I'll continue to post more of my (now hardcopy)...



More to come...







March 15, 2015

By popular demand, I'm leaving the earlier Mandarin Duck images online.

However, I'm adding others from sunny days (as contrasted with the earlier images taken on cloudy days.


The direct sun creates strong, colorful results as seen below







The male Mandarin has taken up with a female Mallard companion!



Gotta love the reflections from a sunny day...!



The male Mandarin begins its 'bowing' gesture here...



A deep bow, with his head-crest raised high!



Mandarin+Sunlight = strong, saturated colors!



This bird makes all photo enthusiasts look good, with a guaranteed gorgeous outcome!












March 6, 2015


At present, several of my bird-photographer colleagues are capturing images of Tundra Swans on the waterfowl refuges as they migrate northward!

Looking at their posts, I was reminded of a time such as now, when a lone Tundra Swan visited me in the middle of the valley,

at Willow Pond in Murray, UT.

Here it is, amidst other water birds...




Up close...



Even closer!



Over time it decided to fly away, providing me this cool image!










March 6, 2015

After a several day disappearance of the Male Mandarin Duck at Big Cottonwood Park, late last evening I saw the tiny bird flying in the company of several Mallards, circling the pond, and finally landing on the grassy north end!



Not the best of images; but there's no denying, it's the Mandarin!!




On the ground, the bird stayed in the company of Mallards as seen here.




A dog gave chase to the birds, and they ended up on the pond, giving me the opportunity to do some more Image-Quality testing with my new lens!









March 3, 2014

First-of-Year Killdeer (4 ea.) on the Murray/Jordan River Parkway.



















March 2, 2015

Brief storytelling dialogue for awhile, a few nice pics of the

Mandarin Duck as I continue to sort my images...


A Stretch...






"The end."








March 1, 2015

I begin my March posts with the delightful male Mandarin duck that has graced the tiny area of open water at Big Cottonwood Park pond for several days now.

After Deborah Drain's post announcing the presence of the bird yesterday, a sizeable number of birders and photographers appeared, giving the occasion a festive hue!!!

I enjoyed mingling with new faces, especially the photographers whose images were improved by my assistance with how to set their cameras.


I'm sure there were lots of extraordinary images created by other photographers present yesterday, similar to the image below:

This bird is especially photogenic and cooperative!


However, with this post, I've selected some behavior/action images:


Mandarin duck chasing an adult male Mallard to the far end of the pond!





Afterward, it does a 'Victory Dance' of sorts...







finishing up with an elaborate series of stretches!




Note the remarkable symmetry of colors normally hidden!













Then the bird opted to 'take a walk'...



The camera's intentional shallow depth of focus assists in creating a

3 dimensional look to the bird!



A male Mallard is no longer intimidated by the smaller Mandarin!




They actually walked side by side for a distance...




Again, the Mandarin duck is isolated to create a 'classical pose'!

(Cloudy days often reward me handsomely when photographing birds!)



A few more steps toward the water, and the background is magically changed!




The bird surveys the area.




and goes back into the pond.




at which time he begins his 'siesta'!