Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, American Goldfinch & American Tree Sparrow in Northern Utah

/, American Tree Sparrows, Birds, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Box Elder County, Utah/Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, American Goldfinch & American Tree Sparrow in Northern Utah

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in AutumnBlue-gray Gnatcatcher in Autumn – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I spent time photographing primarily small birds yesterday in northern Utah which included Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, American Goldfinches and American Tree Sparrows.

I heard the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher before I saw it and when it popped out into the open on a fall-colored oak tree I was ready for it. I wish the background was less busy looking in this frame but the gray bird does stand out well from the oranges, browns and golds of the leaves despite the cluttered background.

There were several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers foraging through the trees, rabbitbrush and other shrubs in the area and when I wasn’t photographing them it was fun to watch them search for food.

American Goldfinch in nonbreeding plumageAmerican Goldfinch in nonbreeding plumage – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

There were plenty of American Goldfinches in the area and most of them dove right into the trees and shrubs when they flew in so they weren’t visible most of the time but a few perched right out in the open allowing me plenty of time to photograph them. The American Goldfinches are in their drabber but still appealing nonbreeding plumage right now. I liked that I was able to get a sliver of the clear blue sky behind this goldfinch when I photographed it.

American Tree Sparrow in the shadowsAmerican Tree Sparrow in the shadows – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/500, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

It was a real treat for me to see and photograph several American Tree Sparrows yesterday because we only see these sparrows from late October until around late March and early April, they spend their breeding season in northern Canada and Alaska.

I had seen another American Tree Sparrow earlier in October but it was to far away to get decent images of it and most of the ones I saw yesterday were also too far away but this one came in close.  Although this American Tree Sparrow was in the shadow of a tree I couldn’t resist photographing it and I actually like how it turned out with the brightly lit rabbitbrush and shadowed water in the background. I hope to see more of these sparrows over the winter because I’ve not had as many opportunities with them as I would like. I love that small bi-colored bill!

It was a morning where small birds filled my viewfinder and I enjoyed it.

Life is good.



  1. Pepe Forte November 4, 2017 at 12:13 am

    All terrific shots Mia; especially the sparrow in the shadows (#3). Thanks.

  2. Utahbooklover October 30, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Nice images, especially the goldfinch in nonbreeding plumage. Thanks!

  3. Elephants Child October 30, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Miniature perfection. Thank you.

  4. Larrry Muench October 30, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Beautiful shots of some uncommon birds. Thanks

  5. Margot Rawlins October 30, 2017 at 11:28 am

    You bring me such pleasure each morning. The beauty of these birds and your ability to capture their essence never ceases to amaze me.

  6. Patty Chadwick October 30, 2017 at 8:49 am

    A Bird feast…all little, cute and curvy….I miss the brilliant yellow of the Goldfinches…will have to wait til next year to see that sunshine on the wing again. Nice!!!

  7. April Olson October 30, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Beautiful photos, the last is my favorite.

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