Male Yellow-headed Blackbird Portrait

Male Yellow-headed Blackbird PortraitMale Yellow-headed Blackbird Portrait – Nikon D810, f9, 1/1250, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Yesterday morning I went to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge because the sun was shining, the air was clear and I was itching to see it again. On my drive to the auto tour loop I was amazed to see well over a hundred Long-billed Curlews near the Bear River in the fields on both side of the river. I have never seen so many curlews congregated in one area in my life! They were east of the hard top road and the light was bad on them so I didn’t take any photos. I should have gone back in the afternoon to see if they were still there.

Then, I didn’t see them but I could hear the calls of Franklin’s Gulls, it is nice to know they have returned. They remind me of the Laughing Gulls I photographed and was so fond of in Florida.

On the south side of the auto tour loop there were plenty of Red-winged and Yellow-head Blackbirds feeding right next to the road on the ground and perched on top of the rushes snatching midges right out of the air. I was able to take this male Yellow-headed Blackbird portrait because the bird seemed more intent on catching midges than being nervous about me. I really, really wish that it hadn’t had out of focus phragmites in front of the blackbird but what I really liked about this image was that I’d never been so close to a Yellow-headed Blackbird that I could see five tiny yellow feathers in the orbital (eye) ring of this species before.

Did I mention I really wish the phragmites weren’t in front of the bird? Oh well, stuff happens.

Life is good.



  1. Elephant's Child April 3, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    And I don’t mind the phragamite either.

  2. Utahbooklover April 3, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Nice portrait. I enjoyed reading about your visit to the Bear River MBR. I want to go there soon. Just returned from the beautiful Moab area. While filling up the car Friday evening, I looked up to see 20 Turkey Vultures overhead. What a sight to see–a bonus to the wonderful scenery. Also enjoyed the new exhibit of a hundred life-sized dinosaurs outdoors, just north of Moab. Includes a short 3D movie that begins with the origin of the universe and an interactive museum worth seeing too.

  3. Molly April 3, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Thanks for pointing out those orbital eye ring feathers. I would have missed them. 🙂

  4. Patty Chadwick April 3, 2016 at 10:36 am

    A great portrait of a beautiful bird I wish we could see here…cold, very windy here today…snowed last night…does NOT feel much like Spring!

  5. Bob McPherson April 3, 2016 at 5:38 am

    Wonderful photos Mia.

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