Gray Catbird Plus Blooming Hound’s Tongue Photos

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Gray Catbird on a log, Little Emigration Canyon, Summit County, UtahGray Catbird on a log –  Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Yesterday morning was spent up in the canyons of the Wasatch Mountains and for a while I escaped the heat of the valley, it was pleasant, cool and I had plenty of subject to photograph including birds, flora and wildlife.

I have found Gray Catbirds to be quite skulky so having one out in the open yesterday was truly a delight, at least for a few moments. I heard the Gray Catbird before I saw it and when I did it was nearly hidden in some dead bushes but when it flew down to a fallen log out in the open I started taking photos of the bird as it looked around. I liked the vibrant green leaves in the background which contrasted nicely with the bird’s gray plumage and the well-weathered log.

Gray Catbird with a messy background, Little Emigration Canyon, Summit County, UtahGray Catbird with a messy background –  Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

But then the catbird moved up the log and the background became messy with bright branches crossing through the frame that I feel are light enough that they draw my attention away from the bird, my primary subject. The bird is posed nicely, I have light in the eye, wonderful sharpness and feather details but I know that those bright branches aren’t a feature I like in this photo at all and this image won’t make it to my galleries because of them.

It is quite possible that moving to a different position may have eliminated having the distracting branches in the background, next time I am up there I will have to evaluate this location more carefully.

Gray Catbird perched on a twig, Little Emigration Canyon, Summit County, UtahGray Catbird perched on a twig –  Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Later the catbird flew up into the dead branches of a shrub and perched on a twig in great light and gave me a wonderful turn of the head but there were dead, out of focus twigs in front of the bird that are also a bit distracting to my eye. I sure wish those twigs had not been there.

Sometimes you get the photos of birds that you want and sometimes you don’t. Bird photography isn’t easy, yesterday wasn’t easy at least for taking photos of this catbird.

Blooming Hound's Tongue - Cynoglossum officinale, Little Emigration Canyon, Summit County, UtahBlooming Hound’s Tongue – Cynoglossum officinale –  Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I did take some photos of the wildflowers I saw in the same area where I photographed the Gray Catbird when it wasn’t in view though and I do like these blooming Hound’s Tongue photos a lot.

Hound’s Tongue (Cynoglossum officinale) is an introduced herbaceous plant that is part of the Borage (Boraginaceae) family, it is originally from Europe and it is considered a noxious weed in many locations in the United States.

The name Hound’s Tongue is said to come from the roughness of the leaves. I guess someone a long time ago thought they felt like a dog’s tongue?

Hound's Tongue - Introduced Wildflower, Little Emigration Canyon, Summit County, UtahHound’s Tongue – Introduced Wildflower –  Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Other names for this wildflower include Houndstongue, Hounds-tongue, Dog’s Tongue, Gypsy Flower, Gypsyflower, Beggars-lice, Dogbur, and Woolmat.

Cynoglossum officinale - Hound's Tongue, Little Emigration Canyon, Summit County, UtahCynoglossum officinale – Hound’s Tongue –  Nikon D500, f10, 1/400, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Even though it is introduced and invasive I think the plant and the flowers are quite lovely especially since the blossoms change color as they age from bluish violet, to lighter violet tinged with red to a brownish red.

I enjoyed my time yesterday morning photographing the Gray Catbird and the Hound’s Tongue in bloom but I really wish I had been as happy with my catbird photos as I am the wildflower images.

Life is good.

Mia

5 Comments

  1. Pepe Forte June 13, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    You know…part of the magic in your images is how you are able to capture light and shadow in a way that describes the shapes around your subject. For example, in the second catbird pic…the birds shadow perfectly defines the contour of the piece of wood (log?) he’s standing on. I love stuff like that. Thanks Mia.

  2. Utahbooklover June 11, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Interesting post of a bird I’ve yet to see. The images made me feel like I was there with you.
    The cool air from Alaska is sure a welcome change from the record-setting heat last May.

  3. Elephants Child June 9, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    A dog’s tongue rough? The namers of this plant had obviously not been licked by a cat.
    Love that you managed to get both dogs AND cats (and birds) into this post.

  4. Patty Chadwick June 9, 2018 at 11:51 am

    Love these birds…curious, “friendly”, a variety of beautiful songs…thanks!

  5. Bob mcpherson June 9, 2018 at 7:29 am

    Cool photos, Mia.

Comments are closed.