Male Black-necked Stilt foraging at Bear River MBR

/, Birds, Black-necked Stilts, Box Elder County, Utah/Male Black-necked Stilt foraging at Bear River MBR

Male Black-necked Stilt foragingMale Black-necked Stilt foraging – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 400, +1.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I went to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge a few days ago to feed the mosquitoes photograph birds and saw my photographer friends Sterling Sanders and Larry Muench at the refuge too so we had a nice chat before heading out around the auto tour route. I also finally met a long time friend from Nature Photographers Network face to face, Neil Rossmiller and his wife Connie who live here in Utah, and we also had a nice chat.

I have said this before but I think it warrants saying again… I meet the nicest, most interesting and fascinating people because of my addiction passion for bird photography. Some I only know via online communications so it is terrific when we can finally met face to face.

I wasn’t disappointed in the light the other day, the sky was clear and the temps were very comfortable. I also wasn’t disappointed in the number and variety of birds I saw including plenty of shorebirds, waterfowl, grebes, pelicans, sparrows, blackbirds, wrens, terns, gulls, cormorants and so much more. I even saw my first Great-tailed Grackle ever at the refuge being chased by some Red-winged Blackbirds.

The Black-necked Stilts are making their presence known with all of their yipping calls. I missed hearing them during the winter and I am savoring hearing them now at the refuge.

I saw a stilt acting as if it was already on eggs and took just a few images of it because most of the stilt was obstructed by grasses in front of it which will probably be good to help hide the nest location. Then I took a series of images of this male Black-necked Stilt foraging in some very shallow water that showed the red of his eyes and those long, long legs. Although I wish I had been closer to the stilt I always appreciate being able to take images from further away that shows the habitat my subject is found in. I’m almost certain that later in the season I’ll be able to obtain images where the stilts are closer.

Not too long after this image was taken; and when I felt I had donated enough blood to the mosquitoes, it was time to head home. If I lived closer to Bear River MBR I would probably be there every day to watch and photograph the birds, scenery and wildlife there throughout every season. I still try to get there as often as I can. The refuge and all the marshes that surround the Great Salt Lake are a national treasure.

Life is good.


The 18th Annual Great Salt Lake Bird Festival is May 12-16, 2016. For all the visitors coming to the festival be sure to take a trip out to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. You won’t be disappointed!


  1. Elephant's Child May 7, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    Such an elegant charmer. With eyebrows like my father’s.

  2. Utahbooklover May 7, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Striking imagine. Curses to the blood suckers. I don’t let them bite me by wearing long sleeves and pants, and hat plus 40% deet on my clothes and Herbal Armor (deet-free) on my face and neck. I worry about the diseases they carry, especially West Nile since I’m over 70. I also do this when I cut the grass, since we live so close to the Bear River Refuse.

    • Utahbooklover May 7, 2016 at 12:28 pm

      Sorry for the spelling error. I meant Bear River Migratory Refuge of course.

  3. April Olson May 7, 2016 at 11:36 am

    I think many of us wish we could live closer to Utah’s wildlife refuges, mosquitoes or not. I definitely feel a restlessness if I have not been out exploring at least once a week. After I have soaked up all the smell, sight and sound, felt the breeze and sun brush my skin I can go home relaxed and wealthier for the experience.

  4. Patty Chadwick May 7, 2016 at 7:29 am

    What a beautiful, delicate, elegant-looking bird! Those long, thin, pink legs look so fragile….

  5. Neil Rossmiller May 7, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Good Morning Mia,
    What a great morning that was, blood letting and all. “May the Fourth be with you” will always have a new meaning for me now.
    Finding a pair of bipedal, camera wielding, bird geeks right off the bat on the entry road made more than just my day. We could have turned around and headed for home then and there and we would have considered the day a success. The pursuit of that elusive “Harrier” plate only took several years, but was well worth the effort. I’ll not be looking at the plates of silver pick-ups so closely from now on.
    Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is truly a gem. I agree, if we lived closer, we would be there several days a week. Mosquitos or not. Damn the little blood suckers, but I guess even they need to eat.
    Great to finally meet you face to face.

  6. Bob McPherson May 7, 2016 at 6:07 am

    Beautiful image Mia. Such a pretty bird. Love the eye detail. he was looking right at you.

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