Hovering Northern Harrier Plus My Lifer Harris’s Sparrow

/, Davis County, Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Harris's Sparrow, Northern Harriers, Utah/Hovering Northern Harrier Plus My Lifer Harris’s Sparrow

Harris's Sparrow near Glover PondHarris’s Sparrow near Glover Pond – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I really didn’t like the way my morning began yesterday after a failed attempt to get onto Antelope Island State Park was thwarted because of the shed hunt that I’d forgotten was scheduled for yesterday which caused a horrible mess at the entrance due to hundreds of people and vehicles hoping to get drawn for the hunt and waiting to get in. Let’s just say I think that there ought to be someone guiding traffic that allows for the people just wanting to get on the island that don’t want to look for shed antlers the ability to go straight through.

Then deciding to go to Farmington Bay instead and while checking traffic seeing that the Interstate was backed up for 42 minutes because of an accident in the southbound lanes between Antelope Drive and the Park Lane/Farmington Bay exit. Relying on Google maps came in handy yesterday because of trying to stay off of the Interstate and taking back roads that I’d never been on before. Thanks Google maps.

But… perhaps all wasn’t lost because the first bird I photographed yesterday was a lifer for me. In some shrubs next to Glover Pond I saw two sparrows and the one that quickly drew my eye was a lovely first winter Harris’s Sparrow, jackpot, a lifer! Bingo! Woot! I’ve been hoping to see one of these beautiful sparrows since I moved to Utah and yesterday I finally saw one. I wish I would have been a few feet further north which could have given me a much clearer view of the Harris’s Sparrow instead I have only a documentary photo with branches in the way. I am disappointed and delighted at the same time.

According to Sibley’s Harris’s Sparrows are rare visitors to Utah but I would say they are more uncommon than rare, not many are documented each year here.

I don’t get many lifers in this neck of the woods because I’ve been photographing here for so long so any lifer here is a thrill.

Northern Harrier hovering over a grassy fieldNorthern Harrier hovering over a grassy field – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Another interesting thing happened yesterday when a Northern Harrier was hovering over a grassy field and scared up two Ring-necked Pheasants. I wish the light had been better and that I’d been able to get one of the pheasants lifting off in the same frame as the harrier but honestly after the very frustrating way the day started I was happy to even get one decent image of a bird. Any bird. I’d been cooped up for far too long.

Life is good, even when it, people and circumstances beyond my control tests my patience.



  1. Pepe Forte March 20, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Beautiful shots Mia. Love the way you framed the Harris sparrow. You never disappoint. Thanks.

  2. Elephants Child March 20, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    I am so happy that your irritating start to the day had such a wonderful turn around. And awed at your eagle eyes.

  3. Laura Culley March 20, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    WOW! Terrific images and a lifer, too! YEE HAW!
    When I’m out with Jack (male HAHA), a local Harrier often buzzes Jack, just for fun. More often than not, it’s the female, but the male enjoys a quick buzz, too. Jack ignores them, but it’s always a delight for me to see them! Yes, I’m easily amused 😉

  4. Marty K March 20, 2018 at 10:22 am

    Congratulations on the lifer! Very cool.

  5. Patty Chadwick March 20, 2018 at 8:49 am

    WOW!!! TWO amazind shots!!!! No other words….am blown away by both…..

  6. Liz Cormack March 20, 2018 at 6:42 am

    Both are beautiful shots. Lucky you to get a lifer.

  7. Bob mcpherson March 20, 2018 at 6:27 am


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