I went to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge early yesterday morning because starting today the auto tour route will be closed from sunrise until 4 pm until August 19th due to work on the dikes. The auto tour route will be open from 4 pm until dark during this time period.
I primarily photograph in the mornings so I wanted to make a trip up there to help tide me over until the auto tour route opens in the mornings again and I am glad I did because it was one of the birdiest mornings I have had up there this summer.
But the weather forecasters, well as usual they messed up. The satellite and radar didn’t show many clouds when I left home but there sure were plenty of them in the sky and the forecast hadn’t mentioned the strong south winds either that were pushing the clouds up towards Bear River MBR. I knew that light was going to be iffy but I have learned that although changing light can be very challenging it can also produce dramatic results.
I took this image from the north side of the auto tour route looking south at the clouds heading towards the refuge.
The birdiest location for bird photography at the refuge yesterday seemed to be the south side of the auto tour route just after the observation platform that is the furthest south and west. There were thousands of birds there.
I know this American White Pelican in flight is small in the frame but it is absolutely my favorite image from yesterday morning. The clouds overhead created shadows on the Promontory Mountains behind the pelican as the sun light lit it up. I felt the contrast of light and shadows created a touch of natural drama in this frame and the pelican just seems to glow.
Now that is not to say I don’t like the other pelican images I took yesterday because I do, especially those that had clouds in the background like this American White Pelican in flight. The clouds moved quickly and so did my subjects in that strong south wind.
I was tickled when this small but noisy family group of Canada Geese flew by with the Promontory Mountains lit up in the background.
I was also able to photograph several Great Blue Herons in flight yesterday morning against a stormy looking sky. In mere seconds I could have my subjects against a blue sky, a blue sky with fluffy white clouds, darker clouds, shadowed mountains, brightly lit mountains and back to blue sky again.
Or against the vibrant greens of the phragmites, cattails and rushes. I saw at least a hundred Snowy Egrets yesterday on the refuge and I think that estimate is rather low.
I had a great deal of fun photographing the pelicans, herons, egrets and geese in flight in the rapidly changing light yesterday morning at Bear River MBR.
Life is good.
I saw Long-billed Dowitchers by the thousands yesterday morning and the Marbled Godwits have started to migrate through too! I wish they had been close enough to photograph.