First Spring Northern Harrier in Box Elder County

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First Spring Northern HarrierFirst Spring Northern Harrier – Nikon D810, f9, 1/640, ISO 400, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I went up to northern Utah yesterday hoping to see and photograph more Short-eared Owls and although I did see them they were off in the distance and not close enough to take high quality images.

However, I was able to take quite a few images of a very cooperative first spring Northern Harrier that was perched on an old post next to the road in Box Elder County. I’m not great at sexing immature harriers so I won’t here on my blog. If I did that I could be wrong and I don’t want to mislead or misinform my readers. It isn’t because I am concerned about being called out for being wrong because when that happens I appreciate being told that I am incorrect and then learning from it.

First spring Northern Harrier rousingFirst spring Northern Harrier rousing – Nikon D810, f9, 1/500, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

The harrier preened for a bit then roused it feathers while still keeping an eye on me. It was a very relaxed harrier and didn’t lift off when a large truck within 15 feet of it rumbled by. An adult Northern Harrier probably wouldn’t have been that sticky, at least that has been the case in my own experiences with them.

Young Northern Harrier on one legYoung Northern Harrier on one leg – Nikon D810, f9, 1/500, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

After rousing and settling its feathers I expected the immature harrier to lift of and it did before I could take off my TC so every photo I have of it lifting off had a body part that was clipped. As soon as it finished rousing I should have taken my TC off. Live and learn.

Life is good.



  1. Elephant's Child April 7, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Love that artful rumpled look that models pay so much to attempt to achieve.

  2. Patty Chadwick April 7, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Like almost monohromatic effect of these images…and kind of rumpled effect the bird againt the muted background…

  3. Beth Jochum April 7, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful shots, Mia. Here in upstate New York, we have watched a harrier in the open field next to us for years.
    We are sad that the lots next to us have recently been sold and the harrier will have to find a new home. It seems to have become familiar with us walking our dogs in the field.

  4. steven kessel April 7, 2016 at 6:20 am

    Fantastic! Down here in Arizona the harriers don’t let us get within 50 yards.

  5. Bob McPherson April 7, 2016 at 5:56 am

    Absolutely stunning photos Mia.

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