Mountain Chickadee perched in Juniper – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Last week while photographing birds in Ophir Canyon I was able to take a short series of photos of a Mountain Chickadee perched in a juniper right after I photographed some bushtits. The sky was a plain blue, the sun was a bit higher than I care for and the chickadee was further away than I like but I couldn’t resist photographing the bird because I liked how it was framed by the juniper and I love having opportunities to aim my lens at these small, white, gray and black birds that move crazy fast.
Some of the other birds I have photographed in this canyon in the West Desert are Red-tailed Hawks, Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jays, Steller’s Jays, Golden Eagles and Mountain Bluebirds and the first mammals I photographed there when I visited Utah from Florida in 2008 was a small herd of Mule Deer.
One of the problems with photographing in Ophir Canyon and other canyons on the west side of the mountain ranges here is that it takes a while for the sun to rise high enough in the morning to reach the floor of the canyon which can mean that the light is somewhat harsh by the time a subject can be lit up well.
Chickadees are reputedly named for their calls which sound like “chick-a-dee-dee-dee” and they do sound like that but I can detect a slight difference between Mountain Chickadees and the Black-capped Chickadees that also live in my area of Utah.
I often see and hear Black-capped Chickadees when I am at home or in my neighborhood but I don’t recall ever seeing a Mountain Chickadee at home. Maybe I just need to look a bit harder for them. Where I do see them most often is up in canyons and while in the mountains that I travel to in Utah, Montana and Idaho.
Life is good.