American Coot on a cold winter dayAmerican Coot on a cold winter day – Nikon D200, tripod mounted, f9, 1/400, ISO 320, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 257mm, natural light, not baited

Some times when it is as hot as it is lately in the Salt Lake Valley (July was the hottest ever on record here) and triple digits seem to be the norm I like to open images I have taken in the middle of winter to remind me that soon it will be that cold again.

I photographed this American Coot on a very chilly day at a pond near where I live in Utah. There was a blanket of snow on the ground with crystalline blue skies, even the old rug I was kneeling on couldn’t keep the cold from affecting my knees and feet, I am sure my cheeks were rosy even though I was bundled up against the cold. The pond hadn’t frozen completely over but there wasn’t much open water either so the birds that were on the pond came in closer than they usually might have. After settling in and by not moving much the birds seemed unconcerned about our presence.

American Coots aren’t thought of as “gorgeous” birds but I do find them appealing and a challenge to expose properly because of the high contrast between the very dark feathers and the whiteness of the ivory colored bill. Besides, they have about the goofiest looking feet of any bird I have seen.

Yep, when I look at this, I think of cooler days that will be arriving before I know it even though some triple digit temps have been predicted for this week.