Dark-eyed Junco, Mullein & Blooming Rabbitbrush

/, Box Elder County, Dark-eyed Juncos, Utah/Dark-eyed Junco, Mullein & Blooming Rabbitbrush

Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) perched on MulleinDark-eyed Junco (Oregon) perched on Mullein – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

When I lived in Virginia I could almost always tell when we were going to get our first snow of the season by the arrival of flocks of Dark-eyed Juncos. The slate-colored subspecies of Dark-eyed Juncos would usually show up in flocks in my yard and garden a few days before the snow would fly, I always loved seeing and hearing them, we called them “snow birds”. I now wish I would have had cameras and gear that would have allowed me to photograph the ones that came into my yard back then, especially when there was a blanket of snow on the ground.

Here in northern Utah I can see the Slate-colored, Oregon, Pink-sided and Gray-headed subspecies (some people call them groups) of Dark-eyed Juncos. Once at Fish Lake I saw all four in close proximity to each other but I could not get a single decent picture of them.

Yesterday while looking for birds to photograph a single Dark-eyed Junco popped up into my view and perched on a dried mullein stalk in front of blooming rabbitbrush. Even though the junco was a bit further away than I would have liked I couldn’t resist photographing the handsome bird in such a pretty setting. So he is a tad small in the frame but I love the images anyway.

Dark-eyed Junco perched on Mullein in front of blooming RabbitbrushDark-eyed Junco perched on Mullein in front of blooming Rabbitbrush – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The Dark-eyed Junco at least gave me a few different poses before he flew off. He was such a pretty bird!

In Utah we have juncos all year long but during the summer I have to head up into the mountains to see them, during the fall the juncos start to move down into the benches and the valleys. I’ve been seeing the juncos a lot more frequently since the weather started to turn colder.

I saw a low of 20°F yesterday, summer has gone and winter is now pushing its way in but I hope we have fall for a bit longer because I am enjoying the brisk mornings and warm afternoons.

Life is good.



  1. Charles Karaian October 17, 2017 at 7:07 am

    We saw our first dark-eyed junco yesterday in the foothills above Albuquerque. Autumn is definitely here.

  2. Elephants Child October 16, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    How lovely. And how considerate of it to hold a pose for you.

  3. M. Bruce October 16, 2017 at 10:47 am


  4. Patty Chadwick October 16, 2017 at 10:14 am

    I like the size of the bird in this frame…it’s a small bird and the setting gives me a sense of its true size…especially in relationship to the dried Mullein stalk…I like their sooty colors…

  5. Liz Cormack October 16, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Oh, so much prettier than the Slate-coloured Dark-eyed Juncos that we have here in Niagara. Beautiful.

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