Male Great-tailed Grackle in Low Light Plus Battery Issues

/, Davis County, Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Great-tailed Grackles, Utah/Male Great-tailed Grackle in Low Light Plus Battery Issues

Male Great-tailed Grackle in low light, Farmington Bay WMA, Davis County, UtahMale Great-tailed Grackle in low light – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/125, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Even though the light yesterday morning wasn’t optimal for bird photography I took my Mom to the Farmington Bay WMA area to show her around there, we only made it as far as Glover Pond though. In total I took all of ten images yesterday and they were all of this male Great-tailed Grackle in low light conditions and he was so close I had to turn my camera to a vertical position and I still couldn’t fit the whole bird in because of its long tail. The grackle was only there for a few seconds before a car going past it flushed it and and the bird flew off of the fence post. The photo is nearly full frame.

Male Great-tailed Grackle in low light horizontal crop, Farmington Bay WMA, Davis County, UtahMale Great-tailed Grackle in low light horizontal crop – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/125, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

And this is the same photo but I cropped it horizontally and tighter on just the bird’s head and upper chest. I kind of like this portrait better than the one above. I readily admit though that I tend to like portraits of birds and other wildlife because of the focus on the subject’s eyes and all the fine details that are visible in portraits.

So, on to my “battery issues”… I’m not talking about camera battery issues although one might think that because I mentioned that I only took ten images yesterday. It was battery issue with my Jeep, again. I stopped the Jeep with the passenger side facing Glover Pond so my Mom could take some photos of the pond, the clouds and some of the birds nearby with her cell phone and when she was done I turned the key to head down the road. Nothing, no click, no dashboard lights, nada, zip. Mom’s window was down and it looked like it might rain at any time and without electricity the power windows don’t go back up.

I ended up calling AAA and within 20 minutes Wes from AAA was there to give us a jump. This isn’t the first time this has happened with this Jeep, I had the battery replaced in late November of 2017, and about six months before that and about 9 months before that and about 6 months before that. Yes, that is four new batteries. The alternator is always fine,  the problem is that the batteries go bad. I think there is a parasitic draw somewhere that is causing these dead batteries.

A friend stopped by before AAA got there and offered to jump my Jeep, thank you! You know who you are 🙂 If AAA hadn’t already been on their way your thoughtful offer could have helped me out a lot.

Thankfully yesterday I had a cell signal, was close to town and was on the road very quickly all things considered. I drove back to Salt Lake City, dropped my Mom and gear off at home and headed to Auto Zone where they tested the battery, decided the battery was the problem, swapped it out because it was covered under the warranty, tested the alternator and determined that it was fine and I headed to the grocery store and then back home. I need to have a mechanic figure this one out, I just don’t like the idea of getting stranded way out in the desert or high up in the mountains where I don’t have a cell signal to call for help.

Life is good. Even when batteries fail.




  1. Santa Clause May 24, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    Lovely:) I love them birds.

  2. Elephants Child May 24, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Sigh on the battery front.
    And megathanks for the glorious portraits.

  3. Marty K May 24, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    You certainly know how to make a plentiful bird look like a star, Mia! He’s gorgeous!

    Hopefully, you can get to the bottom of your electrical issues. My ’98 Saturn went through the same thing a few years ago and after several batteries, a new alternator, and a variety of other repairs, it turned out to be a bad solenoid. Haven’t had a problem since! 🙂

  4. Charles Karaian May 24, 2018 at 9:24 am

    You almost certainly have a battery drain issue. My Jeep had the same problem and I went through several batteries. It turned out that the alarm system was the culprit. A reputable mechanic can determine where the source of the leak is. Good luck.

    We call our local grackles “Walmart birds” as they seem to loiter in their parking lots.

    BTW, great pictures!

  5. Patty Chadwick May 24, 2018 at 8:19 am

    Thank goodness you were able to call for and get help!!! AAA helped me, once, too…when Ibwas in the middle of nowhere…I was amazed how quickly they came and got me going again….as a wise woman says at the end of her emails, “A high IQ is like a jeep, you just get stuff further from help”…I hopeI got it right, Laura…Love the pictures of the grackle…remind me of “Jack the grack”…one of the sassiest, funniest birds of all time. He was lured away by a very concerned female, who obviously was concerned by his fraternizing with us…he finally succumbed to her charms and,sadly, we never saw him again

  6. Laura Culley May 24, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Mia, I’ve had this problem with MY Jeep (2007Cherokee Laredo) and a local mechanic finally found the parasitic short in the ignition system. Intermittent electrical problems are a major PITA, almost impossible to locate/fix simply because they’re intermittent. Good luck finding your problem! It’s SO annoying when the Jeep goes into radio silence with its other parts!! My old Jeep, a 1991 Grand Cherokee Laredo, never once left me stranded and finally died at 256,000 miles. If I’d had the tools, a place to do it, and probably more important, the hands to make it happen, I’d have rebuilt that engine and gone forward toward a million miles.
    Most folks don’t like grackles–yes, they can be pests, but they’re also beautiful I particularly like watching the males when they’re trying to impress females. They put on a really cool body posture/display while cackling maniacally while the females often ignore them completely as they continue to feed themselves. I can almost hear the females saying, “Yeah, what do you want?” Makes me giggle every time!

  7. April Olson May 24, 2018 at 7:14 am

    Sorry about the repeat battery issues, at least you were in civilization. Grackles seem to be a new thing in Northern Utah. I have seen them in St. George but only the past couple of years in the north. I wounder why they have moved. I enjoy their playful raucous. Like bored teenagers grackles seem to congregate at gas stations!

  8. Bob mcpherson May 24, 2018 at 6:53 am

    Cool shots, Mia.

  9. kim May 24, 2018 at 6:43 am

    Great shots!

  10. Liz Cormack May 24, 2018 at 6:07 am

    What gorgeous detail in both photos. I hope you get your battery issue resolved.

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