Adult female and 1st winter Common Goldeneyes on the Great Salt Lake – Nikon D500, f10, 1/800, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
I was out on Antelope Island State Park yesterday morning and I will post some images of Black-billed Magpies I photographed on a gut pile later on but the bird images I liked most that I took yesterday all had “common” as part of their names.
There were quite a few Common Goldeneyes that I photographed from the bridge near the marina that were out on the water of the Great Salt Lake and some that were resting on ice encrusted rocks in the lake. I saw large numbers of 1st winter Goldeneyes which I hope means they had a great breeding season.
Common Goldeneye female in winter – Nikon D500, f10, 1/800, ISO 400, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
I would prefer to photograph these birds from a much lower angle than my position up on the bridge but these birds are skittish and if I had gotten out of the vehicle and walked down to the shore of the Great Salt Lake they would have all taken off. From the vehicle though the ducks went about their duck business and fed, rested, preened and fluffed while I photographed them. This female is perched next to an ice encrusted rock on a submerged rock that is just barely below the surface of the lake where she fluffed and preened.
Male Common Goldeneye feeding in the Great Salt Lake – Nikon D500, f10, 1/1250, ISO 400, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
And this male Common Goldeneye in his striking breed plumage was a real treat to see foraging and feeding near the other side of the ice encrusted rock.
I don’t think there is anything “common” about this male’s appearance!
Three Common Goldeneyes on an icy rock in the Great Salt Lake – Nikon D500, f11, 1/500, ISO 200, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
These Common Goldeneyes will overwinter here and in the spring they will migrate to the north to breed.
I do see them closer to home on occasion at Willow Pond in Salt Lake County where I can photograph them at the lower angles that I prefer. I hope to photograph this species often this winter.
Common Raven on the shore of the Great Salt Lake – Nikon D500, f10, 1/640, ISO 200, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
The other “common” bird I photographed yesterday morning was a very cooperative Common Raven on the rocks along the causeway to Antelope Island and next to the shore of the Great Salt Lake. It surprised me that the raven didn’t fly away immediately because they are typically skittish here but this one hung around. I believe the raven might have been trying to cast a pellet because it kept opening and closing its bill without making a sound. I’ve seen and photographed that behavior before in other bird species right before they expelled pellets.
Common Raven near the Great Salt Lake – Nikon D500, f10, 1/640, ISO 200, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
I didn’t get to see the raven cast the pellet out because it flew off before that could happen but not before I took a ton of images of this shiny, beautiful raven. I love the subtle purple and blue iridescence that can be seen in their plumage in the right light and I was able to capture that iridescence yesterday.
I had fun photographing the Common Raven and the Common Goldeneyes yesterday and even though the cold temps made my fingers numb, these birds were the highlight of my day.