A Rainbow and Wilson’s Phalaropes

As 2011 comes to a close and 2012 is just hours away , I wanted to do one more blog post for the year.

A rainbow and Wilson's Phalaropes
A rainbow and Wilson’s Phalaropes (Phalaropus tricolor) ~Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Montana
Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/400, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

The day I created this image I had been photographing shorebirds in the shallow water near the dam when a storm came into the Centennial Valley. The clouds were dark and ominous but it didn’t look like the storm would last long so I continued to take images.

Soon there was thunder, lightning, rain and hail.  I had never thought about what birds do in storms as much as I did that day while the hail pelted the hundreds of shorebirds in front of me.  They seemed too delicate to survive the pounding they were getting from the hail.

The birds survived the storm and shortly after the hail let up the sky started to lighten, the birds in front of me shook off their wet feathers and this flock of Wilson’s Phalaropes took to the air with a rainbow behind them. They flew back and forth as if they were jubilant that the storm hadn’t beaten them down.

I know, I’m just putting my human emotions into what I saw, but truly I couldn’t help but think that was what the birds were doing.

Happy New Year everyone,


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Mia-what a vivid narrative and beautifully dramatic image. An appropriate way to end the year, and inspire us to seek out Nature in the new year ahead.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Mia, what a glorious experience! Simply beautiful photograph! Wishing you a healthy, happy new year filled with beautiful bird sightings.

  3. Serendipity that you stayed for this opportunity. I think it is natural to interpret these scenes from a human perspective-that is what art is.

    • Julie, I think images like this one do teach me something about my own life. I have weathered many personal storms and survived them myself and at the end of those storms I have felt relief and joy for coming through them.

  4. Amazing capture Mia – Have a Happy New Year and good birding :)


  5. Gorgeous Mia! Simply gorgeous! May you have a very healthy and prosperous New Year and my the light always be at your back ;-)

  6. Happy New year! Amazing photo!

  7. What a wonderful way for me to bring in the New Year, seeing your image. Went to bed early so I can leave in just a bit to go shoot at San Jacinto Wildlife Area. I love the colors of the rainbow as a background for the Phalaropes. Thanks for the opening of my new year of shooting. And a Happy and Well Lighted New Year to you.


    • Hi Skip, and Happy New Year to you!

      I hope that you have great light & plenty of birds this morning at San Jacinto Wildlife Area and for all of 2012. I’m leaving in a bit to go out shooting too, best way to spend the first day of that new year by doing what I love the most.

  8. Wow! that is so beautiful!

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