A Single Midge
Midges are an important food source for the birds that live and breed in the marshes and wetlands of Utah and they have recently begun to hatch. I captured a frame where I could zoom in on a single midge the other day and wanted to share it. It might look a little like a mosquito but they do not bite and they do not make the buzzing noise that mosquitoes do. You can hear them if you stop and listen near the columns of midges you can find at Bear River National Wildlife Refuge.
Midges on Cattails
I don’t know if there are two or more species of midges in this image or if they are all the same species but I see some that are smaller than others, some that are grayer and some that are much darker than others that are near them as they rest on cattails.
Midges on Rushes
This is another close up of midges resting on rushes at Bear River. Next to the road; which is very close to the water, the vegetation can be covered with midges. The midges do swarm around the cars on the auto tour route and they can tickle when they land on bare skin but they don’t bite.
I’ve posted this image before on a post I published two years ago titled “Midges and Birds – Food for Thought” but wanted to share again how the columns of midges can look like mini tornadoes along the auto tour route at Bear River National Wildlife Refuge. Those dark columns are hundreds of thousands of midges.
Coyote with a Midge in the frame
Midges can show up in images unexpectedly as one did in this image of a Coyote I photographed a few days ago on Antelope Island. At the time I took this I had no idea there was a visible midge in the upper right hand corner. I also have plenty of bird images where midges can be seen flying next to a bird or where they are floating on the water.
The midges aren’t to be confused with the biting gnats (no-see-ums) that are out biting every unsuspecting person on Antelope Island right now, no-see-ums are much smaller than these midges.
I wanted to share these images because today is Earth Day. Every plant on this planet matters today and for future generations. This Jack-in-the-Pulpit matters. It can’t grow in the area where I found it in Florida if rampant development continues at alarming rates. Many plants are endangered from development, pollution and because they can’t compete with invasive species.
Female Scarlet Skimmer
The earth needs its insects, from spiders, bees dragonflies and every other insect. Bees are critical for food production yet poisons are being used that kill them and genetically modified plants are playing a roll in that too. Insects matter. This female Scarlet Skimmer helps to naturally control insect pests like mosquitoes. Insects matter, a lot.
White morph Reddish Egret
Birds are my passion, my fascination and I appreciate every bird on this planet. Birds matter. Birds help to disperse seeds and they are valuable to each and every one of us, even for the people who don’t realize it. But many birds on earth are in danger of becoming extinct if we don’t step up to prevent it from occurring as it has with the Passenger Pigeon, the Dodo and many more.
Coyote on Antelope Island State Park
Mammals matter, all wildlife does. But wildlife needs our help, many species are vulnerable and endangered. How can we close our eyes?
Zion National Park, Utah
We need to protect the land, it matters. Protect it from pollution, from over development from the scars of mining and clear cutting forests. The Earth matters.
Coyote on a snow covered hillside – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in
Yesterday I spotted this lone Coyote walking in the snow on a hillside on Antelope Island State Park and stopped to take some images of it before it disappeared into the brush.
The weather forecasters are calling for temperatures in the 50′s this weekend, this snow might melt quickly off of the hillside. There is more open water now and just yesterday there were reports of American Avocets in Davis County.
Winter is starting to lose its icy grip.
More Coyote images
Coyote running across a snow drift – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in
In my post yesterday I shared a Coyote photo in the snow and wanted to share a few more of the Coyotes I saw on Antelope Island State Park on Monday. It is a challenge to photograph in low light and snow, exposure compensation is key so that the subject isn’t too dark and the snow isn’t too bright. I opted to go light on the subjects in these images and brought down the exposure of the snow in post processing.
I mentioned that I spotted two Coyotes, one pale larger one I believe to be a male and a darker, smaller one I believe to be a female. The female never came up close like the pale Coyote did, the picture above shows the pale Coyote running through the snow as it came closer.
Coyote sniffing for voles – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 328mm, natural light, not baited or called in
The pale Coyote was hunting, it would often stop and press its muzzle into the snow to sniff out voles. Just after the image above was created the Coyote stuck its nose into the snow drift. It was aware of our presence but didn’t seem bothered by us as it came so close I wasn’t able to focus on it at times.
Snowy Coyote portrait – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 357mm, natural light, not baited or called in
I was able to zoom in and get some portraits of the pale Coyote with snow covering its muzzle and face.
Coyote and snow drifts pano – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in
The Coyote that I believe to be the female because of its smaller size was more cautious than the paler Coyote and hung back, in front of her the pale Coyote’s tracks are just barely visible. She never came in close to us.
Coyote sitting on a road – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in
The pale Coyote sat on the road and appeared to be waiting for the darker one to catch up but after a few minutes it was clear to us that she wasn’t going to and we passed the pale Coyote on the road. Later on after making a loop to the south of the island we saw them together again on a hill-side.
I know some people may not care for these images because they are high key but I find them; and the Coyotes, very appealing.
More Coyote images
Chukar in the air – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 500, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited
Yesterday when I saw this running Chukar image on my camera LCD in mid-stride and mid-air I had to chuckle because it looks something like a feathered Nerf football some one tossed across the snow. It does give a great view of the whole bird though!
There was about 6 inches of fresh snow on the ground on Antelope Island yesterday, some of the roads weren’t even plowed yet and while there was lovely light to the west it had not reached the island when I photographed the Chukar.
Snow-covered Coyote – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 350mm, natural light, not baited or called in
Then later I spotted Old Scarface again, a pale Coyote who has scars on its muzzle, and another darker, smaller Coyote. I think this pale Coyote is a male because he looks slightly larger than the other one, but I can’t be sure. The female hung back but this Coyote came up close and appeared to be looking for voles under the thick layer of snow, this image was taken right after the Coyote stuck its muzzle into the snow to sniff out prey. I have photographed this Coyote before but hadn’t noticed that its eyes are a darker amber than most Coyotes I have seen, maybe it was just the flat light.
This Coyote may have an injured foot, it did walk gingerly on the foot but at times I could see it just walking on its other three legs.
I’ll be posting more images of the Coyotes and the Chukars I photographed yesterday soon.
Snow-covered rocks on Antelope Island – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 400, +1.7 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 42mm, natural light
This image shows the clouds over the island and they were the reason the light was flat, I liked the way the snow covered these rocks and how the drifts seemed a part of them.
More snow is on the way and it might be a few days before I can get back out to photograph. I have plenty of images that need to be edited though. The snow on Antelope Island has been beautiful this winter and hopefully the next time I go out there the sun will shine brightly on it.