Gulls, Ducks and Geese in a Snow Storm

Ring-billed Gulls in a snow stormRing-billed Gulls in a snow storm – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 1000, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light (full frame)

I’ve been waiting all winter for a snow storm to arrive where the falling snowflakes are big and fluffy enough to be easily seen in images to head down to my local pond and photograph the birds there and yesterday morning that snow storm arrived. The reason I wanted big fluffy snowflakes instead of finer, drier snowflakes is that the finer ones don’t show up as well in photos at times whereas the bigger ones do.

I headed down to the pond for a few minutes to photograph the gulls, ducks and geese in the snow storm yesterday morning came back with a few images that I am happy with. The birds that stay for the winter here have harsh weather and cold temperatures to survive and most of the time they seem to handle it well.

The Ring-billed Gulls seem to handle our cold winters with ease. There are always plenty of them around the pond.

Canada Geese in a snow stormCanada Geese in a snow storm – Nikon D500, f9, 1/1000, ISO 1000, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light (full frame)

And the Canada Geese also do a great job surviving our cold winters. It isn’t uncommon to see large flocks of Canada Geese on the pond during the winter, especially when there is open water. These three Canada Geese were coming in to land on the pond when I photographed them.

California Gull in a snow stormCalifornia Gull in a snow storm – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/3200, ISO 1000, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light (full frame)

California Gulls also hang around the pond in large numbers hoping to catch scraps people feed the birds or snatching fish from the water themselves.

Close up of a Drake Mallard in a snow stormClose up of a Drake Mallard in a snow storm – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/320, ISO 1000, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

There are wild and domesticated Mallards at the pond all year long but I think this time of the winter is when I love to photograph them the most because the males are in breeding plumage and the colors of their plumage just seem to pop.

Snow storm in Salt Lake CountySnow storm in Salt Lake County – HTC One M8 cell phone shot

This cell phone shot shows the pond, the birds and how snowy it was while I photographed the gulls, ducks and geese. On a clear day the Wasatch Mountains are easily seen above the homes and trees, not yesterday! Visibility was very poor.

Common Goldeneye drake on a snowy dayCommon Goldeneye drake on a snowy day – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 1000, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Common Goldeneyes are only here in Utah during their nonbreeding season and there were several of them on the pond yesterday but none were as cooperative as this drake was. The one down side is that in the poor light I had to work with very little of the green iridescence on his head showed up as well as it would on a brighter, sunnier day.

Common Goldeneye males always look like they are smiling to me, this guy sure does.

Redhead drake in a snow stormRedhead drake in a snow storm – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 1000, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

One of the other ducks that came in close enough to photograph was this Redhead drake. I took a bunch of images of him to get just a few that were sharp enough to suit my tastes and that didn’t have snowflakes in front of his orange eyes.

Ring-billed Gull in a snow stormRing-billed Gull in a snow storm – Nikon D500, f9, 1/2000, ISO 1250, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I spent about 40 minutes photographing the gulls, ducks and geese in the snow storm here in northern Utah yesterday and had a lot of fun doing it.

Life is good.

Mia

8 Comments

  1. Humming bird lover January 24, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Hi! sweetie you know I would have loved to have been there with you! Keep up the great photo’! I loved our walks in a snow storm! all the birds and critters! I envy you! Not really! I am so glad you are living the life that is what you love to do! love mom

  2. Utahbooklover January 22, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    You and these birds are pretty winter resistant. Lots of great images! Thanks.

  3. Elephant's Child January 22, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Cooling heart balm. Thank you.

  4. April Olson January 22, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Beautiful photos. You are braver than I am. We had about 15 inches of snow at my house. I stayed home and shoveled and waited until the snow on the roads was at least packed down before I ventured out.

    Am I seeing a band on the leg of the Canada Goose?

  5. Jorge H. Oliveira January 22, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Thank you for showing the pond. Now I can “see” how it is and not only imagine it when you and Ron say “I went to the pond”.
    Thank you for including the images techs because I recently bought a Nikon D500 and they help me to see how it behaves under different situations.
    And thank you for sharing those beautiful images. I never get tired of photographing gulls and ducks.

  6. Patty Chadwick January 22, 2017 at 9:20 am

    These are wonderful images. I especially like the first as I’ve seen plenty of gulls but never in snow. As for the comments, I sure hope they aren’t “alternative facts”! I get too easily confused as it is these days…for example I apparently can’t trust my own eyes…..

  7. Diane McPherson-Stern January 22, 2017 at 8:13 am

    love the pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Liz Cormack January 22, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Wonderful photos….especially the mallard drake portrait. I love those big fluffy flakes too.

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