Winter American Coot Portrait

/, Birds, Salt Lake County, Utah/Winter American Coot Portrait

American Coot portraitAmerican Coot portrait – Nikon D500, f8, 1/500, ISO 320, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

It isn’t often that I have an American Coot walk up so close to me that I can take portraits of them so as usual, I took the shots because I love portraits of my subjects when they can be taken in an ethical manner.

Yesterday started off gloomy but it brightened up later in the day so a quick trip to the local pond was in order. It is close by, I can be there in a matter of minutes and I feel like I can never know what interesting bird might show up. The slightly warmer weather had melted some of the ice on the pond and there was a spot of open water near the parking area where gulls, geese, ducks and coots had gathered that was close enough to photograph birds from inside the relative warmth of a vehicle or as I like to call it, a mobile blind.

When the birds settled back down on the pond this American Coot walked up onto the shore with the open water behind it and I couldn’t resist taking portraits of it. It was almost too close to focus on but I did get some nice close ups of the coot.

I like coots, I love their bright red eyes, their big, goofy looking feet, their dark plumage and ivory-colored bills. What’s not to like?

Life is good.


By the way, I am super excited that President Obama designated two new National Monuments yesterday, Gold Butte in Nevada and Bears Ears right here in Utah. I was dancing for joy when I read Obama’s press release!


  1. Jane Chesebrough December 29, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Now I know what the notices about Bear Ears was about. Now tha is good news.Fantastic portrait, like he is telling you not to forget about the glorious coots!

  2. Utahbooklover December 29, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Very nice and striking red eye. Wonderful news to be followed by a rocky road to undo it all by the GOP.

  3. Elephant's Child December 29, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Proof that ‘red-eye’ in photography can be beautiful.
    Yay for protecting the environment.

  4. Patty Chadwick December 29, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Wonderful portrait of top “half” of coot…now for portrait of those crazy feet…GLad to hear about new lands protected…now let’s hope they aren’t raped by the anti-environmentalists in the new administration,as I fear they will be…

  5. Carlotta Grenier December 29, 2016 at 8:50 am

    great portrait

  6. Liz Cormack December 29, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Oh, my, what a beautiful portrait. One of my favourites.

  7. Bob mcpherson December 29, 2016 at 7:27 am

    Beautiful photo, Mia. Your instincts are amazing.

  8. Steven Kessel December 29, 2016 at 5:38 am

    Nice job of capturing the beak without blowing the highlights. I find coots to be very difficult to photograph because of their bright white beaks.

  9. shoreacres December 29, 2016 at 5:36 am

    I’ve never before seen such detail on a coot’s bill. I’m glad you went a-roaming!

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