Black-billed Magpie in flightBlack-billed Magpie in flight – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Winter appears to be retreating as spring approaches, the skies are clearing, the grass is getting green and the birds are beginning to think about more than surviving, they have begun to think about the upcoming nesting season. Black-billed Magpies have started the long process of building or rebuilding their nests. It is a process that can take anywhere from 40 to 50 days to complete so at times they start before the snow stops flying.

American Coot at Willow PondAmerican Coot at Willow Pond – Nikon D300, f9, handheld,  1/400, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

American Coots become more and more territorial and will fight with each other over what seems to me; a mere human, the slightest infraction over food or some boundary that I can’t see or understand. American Coots can look quite goofy with their huge, lobed feet yet they can also look pretty mean too with their blood red eyes and pointed ivory bills. This one had its eye on me as I sat on the shoreline of Willow Pond photographing it last week.

Chukar calling on Antelope Island State ParkChukar calling on Antelope Island State Park – Nikon D300, f8, 1/1000, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

The Chukars on Antelope Island have become more visible and audible too. Over the winter I didn’t see them often and heard them less but with the approach of spring they have begun to stand on top of the rocks to call to attract their mates.

There are reports each day of migrating birds appearing in Utah, some of these birds will stay here all summer long and some will head further north to breed. It is a great time to be a bird photographer in Utah!

Mia