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.
Barn Swallow – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 250, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light
My birding friends Kathie and Chris down in Arizona have reported that they are already seeing swallows so chances are it won’t be long before I see them just one state away in Utah!
Bear River National Wildlife Refuge has five species of swallows during the warmer months, they are Tree, Northern Rough-winged, Violet-green, Cliff and Bank Swallows. The swallows are drawn to Bear River NWR because of the abundance of insects at the refuge, primarily Midges. I’ve written before about them in a post titled Midges and Birds – Food for Thought that explains how Midges benefit the eco-system at Bear River NWR in northern Utah. That post also shows Midge Tornados that I find fascinating and images of a few birds that consume them too.
Okay, back to swallows, it wasn’t until last night that I realized I have not posted a single image of a Barn Swallow on my blog yet and I figured it was about time! I photographed this beautiful adult Barn Swallow on the auto tour loop back in May of 2010, that was a super day for me as far as photography went because I was also able to photograph some gorgeous Red Fox kits that morning too.
I expect to see the first Barn Swallows sometime around the end of March to the beginning of April, I can’t wait!
Don’t get me wrong, I love winter and the birds the cold weather brings but I am also looking forward to the birds I see in spring and summer and Swallows are amongst them.
*Because of Google’s changes it Image Search and how they have begun to hotlink to my larger images I will no longer post large versions of my files on my blog.
Stretching adult Clark’s Grebe (Aechmorphus clarkii)
Salt Lake County, Utah
Nikon D200, f8, 1/2000, ISO 400, -0.7 EV, 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light
This spring and summer I’ve a little been disappointed by how few Clark’s Grebe images I have been able to take. One of the places I know about where I know I can find them rushing (looks like a water ballet), nesting, feeding their chicks and watching the juveniles ride on the adult’s back has been closed twice for weeks at a time. Once was due to roads flooding in the spring and now it is closed to finalize some road construction.
Clark’s Grebe (Aechmorphus clarkii) with midges floating on the water
Bear River National Wildlife Refuge, Box Elder County, Utah
Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 400, -1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light
I was able to take some picture of Clark’s Grebes this spring and summer but what I really missed was watching them interact with each other and with the Western Grebes I can usually find in the same location. I hope that there are still some around by the time those roads open up in September!
More Clark’s Grebe images