Female and Juvenile Yellow Warblers – Yellow Gold in the Wasatch Mountains

/, Morgan County, Utah, Yellow Warblers/Female and Juvenile Yellow Warblers – Yellow Gold in the Wasatch Mountains

Juvenile Yellow Warbler perched in a treeJuvenile Yellow Warbler perched in a tree – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1250, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

It comes as no surprise to me that July 2017 has gone down in history as the hottest on record for my area of Utah, the high temps have been awful and they can’t be ignored. I can escape the heat and head up into the mountains where it is cooler and it feels marvelous even if it is just for a few hours. Yesterday morning I saw a low of 48°F up in the Wasatch Mountains and it felt great, that was a 50 degree difference from the high I saw later in the day here in the valley.

I’d hoped to find some juvenile Green-tailed Towhees but instead I found gold. Yellow Warblers.

I have my ears and my eyes to thank for finding the Yellow Warblers and their young foraging near a creek in a canyon. I heard them first and then located them hidden in some shrubby trees where parking and using the vehicle as a mobile blind worked well. All I could do was hope that the warblers would pop into view at some point. Thankfully they did and I was able to take my very first photos of juvenile Yellow Warblers.

Perched female Yellow WarblerPerched female Yellow Warbler – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1250, ISO 400, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The willows and other trees along the creek seemed to be dripping with Yellow Warblers feeding their young, some of the adults were snatching insects in flight high over the trees but most were gleaning insects from the willows, grasses and other shrubs near the banks of the creek. Getting one of these small, constantly moving birds out in the open is a matter of luck and being able to lock onto the bird and take images before it flies away is a challenge.

Juvenile Yellow Warbler beggingJuvenile Yellow Warbler begging – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 400, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Juvenile Yellow Warblers have a scruffy appearance when they leave the nest at only eight to ten days old, their plumage is a mix of mouse gray natal down and yellow and losing sight of them inside the protection of the shrubs and trees is easy to do but their soft begging calls can still be heard frequently and that helps to stay aware of where they might be located.

I spent 47 minutes inside the “mobile” blind while the adults searched for food for numerous young and although I took hundreds of photos there are more than a few that will be deleted because of the messy settings, branches, grasses, leaves or flowers in front of the birds or the lighting just wasn’t right but I also will have quite a few that are keepers.

Bedraggled juvenile Yellow WarblerBedraggled juvenile Yellow Warbler – Nikon D500, f9, 1/1000, ISO 400, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

One of the juvenile Yellow Warblers seemed to have gotten wet, I don’t know if it bathed or got wet while chasing after the adult for food but it looked just a touch bedraggled when I photographed it after it had shaken off several times deep in the shrubbery and then moved to a sun lit branch to dry off.

I was delighted to have found “Yellow Gold” yesterday in the mountains and to have enjoyed the clean, cool mountain air.

Life is good.



  1. Elephants Child August 1, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    The very best, and most precious, type of gold.

  2. Utahbooklover August 1, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Wonderful images. Yes, the heat has been oppressive and the weatherman confirmed it was the hottest July on record.

  3. Patty Chadwick August 1, 2017 at 9:54 am

    That was supposed to read…blobs of sunlight on the wing….the evil one thought otherwise…..

  4. Patty Chadwick August 1, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Thanks for a wonderfu series! These little blobs os sunlight on the sing are very special to me…

  5. Stu August 1, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Your images and text are a treat! Thanks very much for both.
    Best wishes.

  6. April Olson August 1, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Beautiful refreshing “green” photos.

  7. Laura Culley August 1, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Just beautiful. And WOW, at just 7 to 10 days to fledge, they don’t get much of a childhood, do they? That just amazes me with wonder in the context of how do they do that? And “yellow gold” is so appropriate. THANK YOU for sharing this magic!

  8. Bob mcphersons August 1, 2017 at 7:56 am


  9. Anita Austin August 1, 2017 at 6:55 am

    Cute little guys! They do look a bit scruffy, but the adults are a beautiful shade of gold. Admire your patience. I never could sit still for long. But you got what you were waiting for!

  10. Robert Bender August 1, 2017 at 5:52 am

    Great captures of extremely difficult subjects! True gold.

  11. Liz Cormack August 1, 2017 at 5:44 am

    I have only ever seen male Yellow Warblers so seeing your photos of a female & a juvenile is wonderful. Thank you.

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