Coyotes, Birds, Cruddy Weather and Camaraderie

/, Coyotes, Utah/Coyotes, Birds, Cruddy Weather and Camaraderie

coyote-frosty-mia-mcpherson-9137Coyote in a frosty field ~ Antelope Island State Park, Utah – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 800, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 200mm, natural light, not baited

Today I had the pleasure of photographing with not just one but two wonderful friends and fellow photographers. To be sure they are much more “fellow” than I am but I don’t hold that against them.

The weather: Pea soup fog, started off the day at 17 degrees and we had an icy looking sun that never quite burned off the fog while we were shooting.

The weather forecast for the day: Clear and sunny. I’m sure it was sunny and clear… at about 5000 feet above the fog. Weather forecasters, I dearly wish I could be paid to be wrong so often.

Destination: Antelope Island State Park and Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area.

Chuck Gangas, a good friend and fellow bird photographer from Massachusetts had a layover in Salt Lake for the full day and since he’d never photographed birds here in this area of Utah we all went out hoping the fog would lift and we’d find birds. Well, we did at least find the birds.

Despite the poor weather Chuck was able to see and photograph 3 lifer birds, Rough-legged Hawks, Western Meadowlarks and White-faced Ibises. The Ibis are very late this winter migrating to the south, maybe they waited just so Chuck could see and photograph them. Maybe the Chukars we saw were lifer birds for him too, I forgot to ask him.

PS: The Chukars were lifers for Chuck and the Loggerhead Shrikes were too. Five lifers in one day isn’t too shabby at all! 

It was wonderful for me to “see” the island (even with cruddy visibility) through Chuck’s eyes. I first saw the island 3 years ago and I fell instantly in love with the windswept grassy plains, the craggy rocks, the tremendous views of the Great Salt Lake and the feeling of wildness that embodies the entire island. I think Chuck felt some of that today. Antelope Island is a place that gets into your blood and never leaves.

It was amazing to hear the excitement in Chuck’s voice and to hear him speak praises about the island I love so much.

What I liked the most was the camaraderie that seemed to fill the air around me, Ron and Chuck. You can’t get three bird photographers together without having terrific fun.

A super day despite the fog.


By the way, we saw 9 Coyotes on the island today, that was awesome too.


  1. Julie Brown December 18, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Lovely portrait of this handsome coyote in its environment. The frost and the tones in the vegetation complement the coloring of the coyote so well. As I am still in the midst of processing and posting the images from my too short October visit to Antelope Island, I can really relate to what you have written here. Antelope Island is a very special place, and it is definitely in my blood too! I know I plan to go back in the near future, but in the meantime I will just have to experience it vicariously through your wonderful images.

    • Mia McPherson December 20, 2011 at 6:06 am

      Julie, thanks for your comment on my Coyote image. It was a lot of fun to observe digging to get the vole, it was very determined. While it was digging the Coyote was mostly obscurred by dead Sunflowers and Mulleins but when it moved north I had some clear shots.

      Antelope Island does get into your blood and I hope that you will be able to come back and explore it in depth!

  2. Dan Huber December 18, 2011 at 9:54 am

    very nice post and fantastic image of the coyote Mia

    • Mia McPherson December 18, 2011 at 10:29 am

      Thank you so much Dan, the Coyote was a lot of fun because it ignored us while it dug into the ground for a vole. This was taken after it got the vole and ate it.

  3. Sterling Sanders December 18, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Great shot of the Coyote Mia. You three had too much fun for a very foggy day. I think the fog helped with this shot. All that frost on the grass really sets the mood. Looks like the weather isn’t going to change much for a while so you just learn to take what you get and make the most of it, which you did here.

    • Mia McPherson December 18, 2011 at 6:45 am

      Hi Sterling,

      Yes, we had an amazing day despite all the fog. I liked all the frost in this image too for the mood it set.

      I keep hoping we will get a wind to blow this inversion out of the valley but I will keep trying to get photos in spite of it!

  4. Kathy Finnerty December 17, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Amazing image and wonderful thoughts. Fresh eyes can give you a fresh perspective.

    • Mia McPherson December 18, 2011 at 6:43 am


      Fresh eyes can give you a fresh perspective.

      So very true!!

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