The Willets and Biting Gnats are back on Antelope Island

Willet just after lift offWillet just after lift off – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

The Willets are moving into their nesting territory on Antelope Island State Park and I am excited about that, what I am not excited about is that the biting gnats (no-see-ums) are back too. I love to hear the Willets calling either from their perches or when they are in flight. This Willet had just lifted off from a Sagebrush where it had been calling. I did clone a bit of the very top of the Sagebrush out at the lower right portion of this frame.

All fluffed upAll fluffed up – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 328mm, natural light

Further south on the island this Willet was on the ground where it had most likely been foraging and it stopped to shake its feathers and fluff them up.

Alert WilletAlert Willet – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 328mm, natural light

Then it moved a bit closer to the pickup and stood at alert. I think the tiny pink flowers add to the last two images.

The biting gnats… The nasty buggers will be trying to suck the blood out of me for at least the next six weeks every time I go to the island but I am not going to let them stop me from photographing the wonderful birds and great wildlife I see there.


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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. Thanks for the comments on the Willets and for the sympathy regarding the no-see-ums!

  2. I don’t know how you deal with it. I was severely attacked last summer and it was terrible. I don’t want to go back and bird those areas with all of the no-see-ums. Chiggers are some of the worst bugs out there…..leaving marks for weeks along with the pain!

  3. I love that flying Willet!

  4. I now see why humans get tattoos ;) envy..
    Great great image Mia !

  5. Annoying little bugs anyway. Great photos and I love the ones with just the little bit of purple flowers in them!

  6. Wonderful shots of a bird I can’t resist photographing …. and photographing…. and …
    I love the posture and BG of the first one.

  7. Wow, good for you re: not letting biting nasties keep you away. *pat pat pat* =)

    Great shots of willets. I’ve never seen them in breeding plumage, so that’s a treat. I monitored shorebirds in San Diego in the winter, so everyone was as drab as possible. I AM a fan of those leggy creatures.

  8. Willets are sometimes so common along the coast it’s easy to overlook them as photo subjects. Thank you for reminding me how truly beautiful they really are!

    (What? Florida doesn’t have a monopoly on no-see-ums??) :)

  9. nice pictures mia, especially the first, beautifull move, and excellent bokeh too, well played ☺

  10. Beautiful! Love the first one in flight!

    You are like us…..those biting gnats not going to stop us either. I stocked up on the cloths. I call them OFF cloths. They are great for the face and ears.

  11. The Willets are my favourites, great photographs Mia.

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