Feathers & Fur

Today I thought I would post a few images taken this past week from Antelope Island State Park and the west desert in Tooele County. Feathers & Fur.

Coyote in morning lightCoyote in morning light on Antelope Island- Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in

Right before I photographed this Coyote (Canis latrans) it had eaten four Voles from the base on a wild Sunflower. I couldn’t get any decent images of it then because it was well hidden behind the Sunflower stalks but when it wandered towards the other Coyote I could see in the distance it stopped and looked towards me where I had a relatively unobstructed view.

Male Horned Lark in Tooele CountyMale Horned Lark in Tooele County – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Yesterday I was in the west desert in Tooele County with high hopes of seeing and photographing Golden Eagles, Prairie Falcons, Ferruginous and Red-tailed Hawks. It wasn’t to be though, I think the strong south winds were keeping them hunkered down. The one Red-tailed Hawk I photographed was just a bit too far away to create decent images where the details were plainly evident. I still didn’t go away empty handed because this male Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) posed for me briefly.

Pronghorn Doe on a hilltopPronghorn Doe on a hilltop on Antelope Island – Nikon D200, f10, 1/1000, ISO 640, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x Tc at 400mm, natural light

I love Pronghorns (Antilocapra americana), they are beautiful, graceful and I photograph them at every opportunity. I sure thought this doe looked stunning against the snow covered mountains in the background while looking at me from a hilltop.

Loggerhead Shrike callingLoggerhead Shrike calling, Antelope Island – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 640, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I have been seeing more Loggerhead Shrikes (Lanius ludovicianus) calling from the tops of bushes and trees lately and have also been seeing them pair up. This one was calling in the early morning light and quite loudly too! They are such handsome birds.

Frosty BisonFrosty Bison on Antelope Island – Nikon D200, handheld, f11, 1/250, ISO 400, -1.0 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 90mm, natural light

 I had hoped to photograph Bison this winter where the where the foreground and background was all snow covered in beautiful, dramatic light. With the “Winter that Wasn’t” that didn’t happen. I did create some images though were the Bison had some frost on them. Maybe we will get one final snow before spring pushes Old Man Winter out the door. You just never know!


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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. Very nice capture on the Frosty Bison.

  2. Wow! Great collection of wildlife and images. Terrific background for the antelope.

  3. Outstanding set of images Mia! Love the coyote. :-)

  4. Nice collection of images. I just love horned larks-they are so cute. It looks like you had a great day. Do you recognize individual coyotes since you seem to see them frequently?

    • Julie, I can usually only tell by territory which Coyotes are which. But their territories on the island are quite large which is probably why I don’t see them often enough to tell them apart. Thank you for commenting!

  5. Delightful mix of feathers and fur! All stunning photos; the Shrike is my favorite!

  6. Lovely shots Mia, love the cute shrike and the powerful appearing buffalo. Wonderful!

  7. I love your Horned Lark images, can’t get enough of em’.
    I’ve never been close to a bison. His eye seems kinda milky. Do you think that’s a cataract or is that a normal hue? At any rate, I really like how the eye reflects the sun just rising over the horizon–a perfect early morning shot.

    • Hi Laurence, thanks much for commenting on this post. Horned Larks are neat little birds.

      I think you are seeing the reflection of the thin layer of snow on the ground in front of the bison in his eyes and then the sun just barely over the horizon of the hillside behind me.

  8. Wow, you what delightful photos, wonderful post thanks for sharing

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