Winter Clashes With Spring – Seasonal Changes Make Bird Photography Interesting

/, Box Elder County, Swainson's Hawks, Turkey Vultures, Utah, Western Kingbirds/Winter Clashes With Spring – Seasonal Changes Make Bird Photography Interesting

Winter and Spring Weather 2017Winter and Spring Weather 2017

We have had some crazy weather the past few days with warm spring-like days in the 60’s then high winds that knocked down trees and fences plus it caused widespread power outages then rain when the wind stopped and that got capped off with 4 to 5 inches of snow overnight. And it is going to go back up into the 60’s in just a few days.

Winter is clashing with spring right now in northern Utah and those seasonal changes can make bird photography interesting. We still have some of our winter birds like Tundra Swans, Rough-legged Hawks and Merlins who are getting ready to migrate north to their breeding grounds. There are still opportunities to photograph them but those opportunities are getting more and more limited everyday.

Swainson's Hawk perched on a large fence postSwainson’s Hawk perched on a large fence post – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The spring migrants are already moving in. I’ve seen Sandhill Cranes and American White Pelicans already and I am waiting for the next migrant arrivals and wondering which one will be next. Then when I see one I feel like I am playing Bird Bingo waiting to shout “I got _____!!!

Will the next migrant to arrive be a Swainson’s Hawk?

Black Mustard with Western KingbirdBlack Mustard with Western Kingbird – Nikon D810, f9, 1/1000, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

A Western Kingbird?

Turkey Vulture roostingTurkey Vulture roosting – Nikon D810, f8, 1/1600, ISO 400, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

A Turkey Vulture?

Long-billed Curlew, Sage Thrasher, American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, Virginia Rail, American Bittern, Spotted Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Willet, Barn Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Caspian Tern, Snowy Egret, Lark Sparrow, Western Grebe? There are so many.

I hate to see the winter birds leave but I get so excited about seeing the spring birds too.

I have to scrape snow off of my Jeep this morning but later this week I could wear short sleeves outside if I want to because it will be warm enough.

Life is good.



  1. Elephant's Child March 6, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Global weather weirding.
    I cannot wait for Autumn to push her ugly sister out the door. At the moment both are flirting with us.
    Another stunning array of feathered enchantment.
    Thank you.

  2. Jane Chesebrough March 6, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Great shots! As much as I like the Red-tailed and the Swaison’s, tell them to hold off. After plus double digits we are plunging back down to minus 20 celsius again.I have seen fully grown pussy willows and this cannot be good for the trees that are budding out. Sigh. Patience.

  3. Patty Chadwick March 6, 2017 at 6:39 am

    Welcome home, Spring! Three great images to start the day with! Especially like the Swainsons on the silvery weathered wood post and the kingbird with the soft yellow mustard background. You even made the turkey vultute look pretty good…for a turkey vulture….

  4. Steven Kessel March 6, 2017 at 6:15 am

    All three of those species pass through southern Arizona and I have yet to see any of them. However, I’m doing the same thing you are — headed out each day to check for new arrivals. Last week I saw my first Northern Rough-winged Swallows of the season. Spring is coming, hang in there!

  5. Roger Burnard March 6, 2017 at 6:14 am

    Mia… you consistently turn out excellent shots no matter which body, or lens you are using.
    That is the mark of a good nature photographer… “It ain’t the gear, it’s the person using the
    gear that makes a great photo.” Well done Mia, as always… ;-)))

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