California Gull on a Windy Day

/, Birds, California Gulls, Utah/California Gull on a Windy Day

Yesterday morning a light snow had covered most of Antelope Island while the normally lovely blue of the Great Salt Lake was instead a grayish brown because gale force winds were churning it up and there were white caps as far I could see. The lake is very shallow so it doesn’t take much wave action to stir up the sand, mud and particulates.

Choppy waters in the Great Salt LakeChoppy waters in the Great Salt Lake – Nikon D200, handheld, f16, 1/1500, ISO 400, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 48mm, natural light

This image taken from the Egg Island Overlook shows the choppy waters on the Great Salt Lake caused by the strong winds. Most of the birds on the island seemed to have hunkered down to escape the wind, even the ever-present Horned Larks couldn’t be found perching on rocks and sightings of Meadowlarks singing on the tops of Sagebrush were few and far between.

California Gull in flightCalifornia Gull in flight – Nikkor D300, f8, 1/3200, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

There were large flocks of California Gulls (Larus californicus) along the shoreline bobbing in the waves and those in flight were buffeted by the wind, I had trouble keeping my lens steady because of it too. I was almost glad to head home to get the sound of the howling wind out of my ears… almost. I don’t ever seem to get my fill of the island though.


Read how California Gulls were the heroes of the Utah Pioneers in 1848 here.


  1. Linda Rockwell March 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Another wonderful post. Love the photos, as always!

    • Mia McPherson March 12, 2012 at 6:06 am

      Thank you very much for your wonderful comment Linda.

  2. Bob Zeller March 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Great photos again, Mia. As I told Ron, Antelope Island in now on my bucket list. One of his blogger friends even says it must be as beautiful as Texas. 🙂

    • Mia McPherson March 12, 2012 at 6:05 am

      LOL Bob, I do think Utah is equally as beautiful as Texas and I have lived in both of the states. I kind of find beauty wherever I go though. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Dave Sparks March 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    I’ve had poor visibility on my last two trips to Ft. Pickens because of the blowing sand … the wind speed was much lower than the 40+ mph you and Ron braved. Both images are great: the first gives the viewer an appreciation of the conditions and sets her/him up for the difficulty of the second terrific shot of the Gull.

    • Mia McPherson March 12, 2012 at 6:04 am

      Thanks for commenting Dave. I remember the blowing sand at Ft De Soto quite well, it can be hard to see the subject, hard to stay still and even more difficult to keep the sand off the camera & lens.

  4. Julie G. March 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Beautiful scenic image and gull in flight photograph! We’ve had especially strong winds here in the midwest, too. The 55 mph wind gusts are keeping me and my camera indoors 🙁

    • Mia McPherson March 12, 2012 at 6:03 am

      Julie, I’d stay indoors at 55 mph too. With a long lens facing right into the wind I had a hard time getting sharp images even wth VR. Thank you.

  5. Tammy Karr March 8, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Gorgeous capture of the California Gull!

    • Mia McPherson March 12, 2012 at 6:00 am

      Thank you Tammy, they are lovely in breeding plumage (well all year long IMHO).

  6. Scott Simmons March 8, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Lovely Great Salt Lake and Gull photos!

    • Mia McPherson March 12, 2012 at 6:00 am

      Thanks Scott, I think gulls are neat and under rated!

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