Coot portrait in front of icy blue waterCoot portrait in front of icy blue water, Salt Lake County, Utah – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I’ve written before that I love American Coots and I guess that will never change, I will stop for coots any time I see them, I will photograph them and enjoy their antics.

They are a challenge to expose properly because of the high contrast between their very dark feathers and their ivory white bills. Photographers have to work to show fine details in their dark plumage without blowing out the whites of their bills. When they are exposed properly they really can be quite lovely.

American Coot shaking its feathers after bathingAmerican Coot shaking its feathers after bathing, Salt Lake County, Utah – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 320, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

American Coots can look a bit goofy at times but I like that. We can all be a bit goofy at times so why should birds be any different?

I never know what kind of behavior I might photograph when I stop for coots.

American Coot either nesting or restingAmerican Coot either nesting or resting, Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Box Elder County, Utah – Nikon D500, f9, 1/400, ISO 250, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

American Coots can be found in Utah pretty much any where there are lakes, ponds and marshes. In the winter they just need enough open water to be able to find food below the surface.

An American Coot standing on ice at Farmington BayAn American Coot standing on ice at Farmington Bay WMA, Davis County, Utah – Nikon D810, 7.1, 1/1600, ISO 320, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

And then there are their feet, those ginormous, greenish, lobed feet. However do they walk on those things? Or run across the water with them?

Chasing another CootChasing another Coot, Salt Lake County, Utah – Nikon D200, 7.1, 1/640, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 300mm, natural light

They are feisty little buggers too, they chase each other quite often at certain times of the year. I love watching and photographing those chases, the action happens so quickly that I really work at tracking with them with my lens.

Solitary Coot in the morning mist of the Lower LakeSolitary Coot in the morning mist of the Lower Lake, Red Rock Lakes NWR, Beaverhead County, Montana – Nikon D200, f9, 1/350, ISO 250, +1.7 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm at 70mm, natural light

And at times just watching them feeding quietly on calm water is flat out relaxing and soothing and I feel at peace with the world.

Yes, I’ll stop for coots.

Life is good.

Mia

12 Comments

  1. Pepe Forte September 21, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Terrific pics of a fascinating bird. Love the coots vivid red eye in the top image. Thx Mia.

  2. Kim September 18, 2017 at 6:55 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a coot. Very nice image, especially those clown feet!

  3. nikonsteve September 17, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Coots are Cool….nice shots

  4. Carroll Tarvin September 17, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Those feet are ginormous (always wanted to know how to spell that word)

  5. April Olson September 17, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    I love the portrait photo, he has a romantic look!

  6. Patty Chadwick September 17, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    These funny birds have the most amazing feet…they surprise me evvery time I see them…the clown shoes of the bird world!

  7. Marty K September 17, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    I love watching the coots in our neighborhood. I’m fortunate to have them almost in my backyard. 🙂

  8. Glen Fox September 17, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Mia,
    The portrait is fantastic …perfectly exposed. Superb detail. Your skill and hard work combined show in spades!

  9. Elephants Child September 17, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Of course you stop. And those who don’t miss out. Big time.

  10. Liz Cormack September 17, 2017 at 9:05 am

    I will always stop for coots too. Fantastic photos.

  11. Ian Holland September 17, 2017 at 7:24 am

    Us Old Coots are glad you stop also. Great shots!

  12. www.timtraver.net September 17, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Love those silly feet. I need to get out birding in the fresh air. Thanks for the reminder!

Comments are closed.