Bouquet of Black Rosy-Finches at Capitol Reef National Park

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Black Rosy-FinchesBlack Rosy-Finches – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/320, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in

One of the biggest surprises for me on my recent trip to southern Utah was coming across a “bouquet” of 500 or more Black Rosy-Finches that were foraging along the side of Utah State Highway 24. The lighting was horrible and at first I could not ID the birds because of them being in the shade plus the fact that the finches were moving very quickly but as soon as I was able to scope them out with my lens I said “Black Rosy-Finches”!!

Lifers! Eureka!

During the breeding season Black Rosy-Finches (Leucosticte atrata) are found at elevations of over 10,000 feet but they do winter at lower elevations and the flock I saw apparently hadn’t started to move to their breeding grounds. As I mentioned the birds moved very quickly and stayed primarily in the shade so I wasn’t able to get close up images or even images of high quality but I was entranced by the small birds and hope that one day I will be able to get the images I now long for of these small beautiful birds.



  1. Eve March 20, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    They are very lovely, but always difficult to see their color, as they are constantly in motion. You caught them so beautifully. A good place to see them during nesting season is the Beartooth Highway east of Yellowstone, where they nest in rocky cliffs near the summits. Since the highway goes over 11,000 feet, it doesn’t involve lugging camera gear to great heights :).

  2. Patty Chadwick March 19, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Pretty darned cute! Lucky catch…

  3. Sonja Ross March 18, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    A special sighting and photo. I was hoping to see them on our recent trip, but no luck.

  4. Montanagirl March 18, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Beautiful birds and photo!

  5. Jolanta March 18, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    How many birdies! Beautiful picture 🙂

  6. Elephant's Child March 18, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    What a wonderful bouquet to receive – and share. Thank you.

  7. Jane Chesebrough March 18, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    congratulations are in order.A nice looking bird.

  8. Cindy Schnackel March 18, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Beautiful image(s), I really enjoy your blog!

  9. Utahbooklover March 18, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Thanks for introducing me to this beauty, who has a yellow bill in winter and a black bill in summer (Kaufman Field Guide). Love the rocky background.

  10. Larry Jordan March 18, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Congratulations on the lifer Mia! I have been trying for years now to see their sister species, the Gray-crowned Rosy-finch, that frequents the high snow fields of Lassen Volcanic National Park.

  11. Dave Sparks March 18, 2014 at 6:27 am

    Wow! Congrats on the lifers. How long did it take for you to calm down afterwards?

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