coyote-frosty-mia-mcpherson-9137Coyote in a frosty field ~ Antelope Island State Park, Utah – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 800, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 200mm, natural light, not baited

Today I had the pleasure of photographing with not just one but two wonderful friends and fellow photographers. To be sure they are much more “fellow” than I am but I don’t hold that against them.

The weather: Pea soup fog, started off the day at 17 degrees and we had an icy looking sun that never quite burned off the fog while we were shooting.

The weather forecast for the day: Clear and sunny. I’m sure it was sunny and clear… at about 5000 feet above the fog. Weather forecasters, I dearly wish I could be paid to be wrong so often.

Destination: Antelope Island State Park and Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area.

Chuck Gangas, a good friend and fellow bird photographer from Massachusetts had a layover in Salt Lake for the full day and since he’d never photographed birds here in this area of Utah we all went out hoping the fog would lift and we’d find birds. Well, we did at least find the birds.

Despite the poor weather Chuck was able to see and photograph 3 lifer birds, Rough-legged Hawks, Western Meadowlarks and White-faced Ibises. The Ibis are very late this winter migrating to the south, maybe they waited just so Chuck could see and photograph them. Maybe the Chukars we saw were lifer birds for him too, I forgot to ask him.

PS: The Chukars were lifers for Chuck and the Loggerhead Shrikes were too. Five lifers in one day isn’t too shabby at all! 

It was wonderful for me to “see” the island (even with cruddy visibility) through Chuck’s eyes. I first saw the island 3 years ago and I fell instantly in love with the windswept grassy plains, the craggy rocks, the tremendous views of the Great Salt Lake and the feeling of wildness that embodies the entire island. I think Chuck felt some of that today. Antelope Island is a place that gets into your blood and never leaves.

It was amazing to hear the excitement in Chuck’s voice and to hear him speak praises about the island I love so much.

What I liked the most was the camaraderie that seemed to fill the air around me, Ron and Chuck. You can’t get three bird photographers together without having terrific fun.

A super day despite the fog.

Mia

By the way, we saw 9 Coyotes on the island today, that was awesome too.