A resting Northern Harrier

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.

Mia

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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.

8 Comments

  1. I had heard that the Northern Harrier has become a little more scarce in recent years.
    As always perfect shots Mia=Thank you!

  2. It is a beautiful bird! Great shot of the Harrier, Mia! Happy Weekend!

  3. I hope they return for you. And this is gorgeous. Such a majestic bird.

  4. Intense look in this great image. Today’s paper has some nice photos of a few animals and news about the new exhibit at Utah’s Hogle Zoo your readers might enjoy:
    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home3/57369424-200/zoo-exhibit-hansen-hogle.html.csp

  5. Boy! He’s sure got his eye on you! Love the texture contrast of weathered wood and soft, sleek feathers….

  6. Nice photo, Mia. They sure are a pretty bird!

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