Sage Thrasher and Lark Sparrow on Rabbitbrush

/, Birds, Davis County, Lark Sparrows, Sage Thrashers, Utah/Sage Thrasher and Lark Sparrow on Rabbitbrush

Sage Thrasher with grasshopperSage Thrasher with grasshopper – Nikon D810, f10, 1/800, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Sage Thrashers and Lark Sparrows migrate to Antelope Island State Park at about the same time to nest and raise their young. I am fortunate that I spend as much time as I do on the island observing and photographing these two species. I find both species most often where there is sagebrush or rabbitbrush. As much as I love the aroma of sagebrush and its appearance I also like the soft green, needle-like leaves of the rabbitbrush.

It was towards the middle of April last year when I photographed this adult Sage Thrasher with a grasshopper in its bill which meant it was already feeding its young from a first brood. Some where close to where this thrasher perched on rabbitbrush there was a nest with chicks waiting to be fed.

Lark Sparrow with raised wingsLark Sparrow on Rabbitbrush with raised wings – Nikon D810, f8, 1/1250, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

A few days later near the same location that I photographed the Sage Thrasher I photographed this Lark Sparrow on top of rabbitbrush with its wings raised. The sparrow may have seen another Lark Sparrow nearby and reacted to its presence or it might have been reacting to another species of bird but I liked this behavior and the pose.

This Sage Thrasher and Lark Sparrow on rabbitbrush are only two of the birds that benefit from the rabbitbrush on Antelope Island. Rabbitbrush is abundant on the island and provides perches for many of the birds found there along with shelter from predators, a safe place to nest and the birds poke around in them looking for insects to eat. It doesn’t smell as aromatically pleasant as the sagebrush but I appreciate its appearance and the fact that so many birds are better off because of its presence.

As I processed these two images it struck me that when I was photographing them the no-see-ums (biting gnats) were eating me alive at the time. I am dreading the biting gnat season which will start soon but I will put up with those nasty bugs to photograph the birds of Antelope Island.

Life is good.



  1. Utahbooklover April 7, 2016 at 12:54 am

    Enjoyed the images and the information. Now I know what rabbitbrush looks like.

  2. Elephant's Child April 1, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Lovely. Thank you.

  3. Robert Draper April 1, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    A photo I wish I had taken. Nice work, Mia. I know how hard you work for these moments. Thanks

  4. Patty Chadwick April 1, 2016 at 8:20 am

    I never paid much attention to Rabbitbrush…was more interested in the sage, which it kind of looked like…wish I had. It’s pretty stuff. Nice shots of these two birds.

  5. Bob McPherson April 1, 2016 at 6:26 am

    Beautiful photos Mia.

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