Perched Northern HarrierPerched Northern Harrier – Nikon D200, f5.6, 1/640, ISO 400, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

This is my fifth winter in Utah and for me it has been the most frustrating for photographing birds, specifically raptors. I mentioned yesterday on my American Kestrel post that I wasn’t seeing or photographing as many kestrels the past two winters as I had the years before.

There also seem to be fewer Northern Harriers in areas that there were abundant harriers before. Farmington Bay Waterfowl Area used to be my “go to” place for photographing Northern Harriers but this winter they are hard to find. It might be caused by the crash of the vole population last year or how a few weeks ago we had ice then snow on top of it that crushed the phragmites under the weight which might be causing the harriers and other raptors difficulty in locating their prey. The harriers may be hunting farther out in the marshes than they used to, I can’t be sure.

I just know that I am seeing far fewer Northern Harriers at Farmington Bay and on Antelope Island.

I photographed this Northern Harrier in January of 2010 as it rested on a post at Farmington Bay.