Flock of Northern Shovelers feeding on the Great Salt Lake

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A flock of Northern Shovelers feeding on the Great Salt LakeA flock of Northern Shovelers feeding on the Great Salt Lake – Nikon D810, f20, 1/160, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Typically I try to isolate one subject to photograph to focus on the fine details but there are times I like to expand the view I show so that I can show herds or flocks of birds. Last December on the way off of Antelope Island I saw huge flocks of Northern Shovelers feeding on the Great Salt Lake and liked how they appeared through my viewfinder. I had forgotten about this image until last week while I was working on my waterfowl galleries. I should mention that these Northern Shovelers were close enough that I could hear their bills splashing the water. I also like how this image shows females and males both in breeding and eclipse plumage.

Northern Shovelers are dabbling ducks that have elongated bills with comblike lamellae that filter their food. Here in northern Utah they can number in the hundreds of thousands during the winter. I see them both in freshwater and the saline Great Salt Lake.  Last week I saw large flocks of Northern Shovelers close to Antelope Island on the south side of the causeway but not so many on the north side.

Life is good.

Mia

6 Comments

  1. Ingrid T November 20, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    There’s nothing like the sound of dabbling ducks patting the water with their bills on a silent morning. I love the sense of crowd in this shot, beautiful.

  2. Ricardo November 10, 2015 at 7:34 am

    Outstanding image Mia. So many of those beauties together! I just returned from a one week visit to Chile’s Patagonia, where I had a chance to photograph the southern relative of the Northern Shoveler, the Red Shoveler, but I don’t think they flock here as abundantly as they do in the north.

  3. Patty Chadwick November 10, 2015 at 7:25 am

    They almost look likeca swatch of camoflage material, there are so many of them, so close together…

  4. Bob Bushell November 10, 2015 at 5:56 am

    So many Shovelers in one place, excellent shooting.

  5. Bob Mcpherson November 10, 2015 at 5:42 am

    Beautiful images, Mia. Don’t think I have ever seen those before.

  6. Cindy November 10, 2015 at 5:44 am

    A tapestry of beauty! Wow!!

Comments are closed.