Song Sparrow working at getting some seeds – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/750, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light
Song Sparrows are year round residents in Utah but I hear them most often during the winter months as they sing perched high on bushes, rushes, phragmites or cattails. These two birds were photographed at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area in January a few years ago.
Song Sparrow on a hoar frost covered perch – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light
There are often heavy fogs in the morning at Farmington because of all the water in the area and during the coldest months that creates hoar frost that covers all the vegetation.
Song Sparrows are found throughout the U.S. and into Canada, some populations move south during the winter to southern states and northern Mexico. So far 30 subspecies of Song Sparrows have been described.
Song Sparrow perched on frosty phragmites
Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Davis County, UT
D200, f6.3, 1/400, ISO 400, 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light
I enjoy images where the bird itself is small in the frame, particularly when the image shows interesting habitat. What I like about this image is the pose of the Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia), the warm tones of the background, the detail and colors of the phragmites and how well the Song Sparrow stands out from it all. Even though the sparrow is small in the frame there are still plenty of details evident in its plumage.
The sun was just starting to melt the frost off of the phragmites when this photo was taken, small droplets of water were forming on the tips of the seedheads that caught the morning light.
Song Sparrow on a frosty Utah morning
D200, f8, 1/500, ISO 400, 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Sometimes life gets so busy that it takes me quite awhile to edit some of the images I take, this Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) photo is one of those. This was taken October 6, 2009 and just this morning is when I got around to postprocessing the file.
I see Song Sparrows mostly in the winter, spring and fall here in Utah but they are year round residents. I think the reason I don’t see them in the summer is that where I go shooting in the summer months isn’t in the habitat that they prefer. I do know that I thoroughly enjoy hearing the song sparrows sweet calls and seeing them flit amongst the dried pigweed, grasses and phragmites.
There were some out of focus dried wild sunflower seedheads to the left and below my copyright symbol that I cloned out because they were a little distracting. I prefer to leave my images as shot and by being aware of the background when I am in the field I rarely have to resort to cloning. The clone work I did on this photo was an exception for me but I felt this picture was worth saving. I really like the weather worn detail in the old fence, the light and I especially like the dried blade of grass in the bird’s bill.
Song Sparrow on a frosty perch
Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Davis County, Utah
January 8, 2010
D200, f8, 1/1250, ISO 400, 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light
I get very excited about small things at times, a colorful sunrise, the sight of a shooting star, the first spring crocus and in the fall; the first time I see frost. This morning there was frost on the ground here and upon seeing it I felt like a giddy child.
Soon the Aspens and the Poplars will change their colors, there will be snow visible up in the high country, mornings will be crisp and I will have to dig out my winter things. I’ll have to remember not to breathe on my viewfinder, to put gloves in my camera backpack and to preheat my travel mug prior to pouring my coffee into it before heading out the door into the chilly pre-dawn light.
Birds that summer here will soon be heading south but the birds that winter here will start to show up. Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia) that I haven’t seen all summer long will appear and feed on the seeds of weeds with hoar frost clinging to the stems.
There is something magical about seeing the first rays of sunrise striking the crystals of frost and the light that bounces back from it.
Yes, I get excited about small things.
More Song Sparrow images