Female Forster’s Tern is Waiting for Fish

The flooding of the Bear River has attracted numerous waterfowl to the areas that  are not normally found there during dry years. Yesterday I was lucky enough to watch and photograph a Forster’s Tern demanding to be fed by its parents as I thought at first.  

I later changed my mind after a comment I received.  This remark made me question whether it was indeed a juvenile or it was an adult female waiting to be fed by her mate.

That is true that during the mating ritual the male starts offering food to the female, eventually feeding her almost exclusively as they become a pair.

Continue reading “Female Forster’s Tern is Waiting for Fish”

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Male Yellow-headed Blackbird Trying to Attract a Female

I am always waiting for the arrival of Blackbirds. The male display are fun to see and hear.  They arrive first in the early spring to choose their territory and the wait for females begins. 

The male has to work hard to attract the female because it’s she who will choose a mate, and not otherwise.  

Continue reading “Male Yellow-headed Blackbird Trying to Attract a Female”

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Learning to Be Independent

The moment I spotted the juvenile Great Horned Owl, I thought there was no way I could take a photo of him.  The Owl was hidden by dense tree branches and almost was invisible.  I stayed with him for a while, talked briefly and left.

On the way back, the Owl was still in the same tree but he changed his position and no longer napped.   This juvenile Owl flew out of the nest into the world learning how to be independent.

Continue reading “Learning to Be Independent”

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In the Great Blue Herons’ Rookery – II.

Raising Great Blue Herons’ chicks is incredibly difficult. They can be brutal toward their parents and often attack them while they are fed. The chicks also can be violent towards their siblings hurting them in a fight for food. 

Later on, the juvenile Herons become so aggressive that their parents quickly drop a fish and leave.

Continue reading “In the Great Blue Herons’ Rookery – II.”

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In the Great Blue Herons’ Rookery – I.

Yesterday the Great Blue Herons’ rookery was different, it ceased to be quiet and was surrounded with incessant loud noise.  The chicks are getting bigger and nosier. 

Some couples are still building nests. In the photo above the male Great Blue delivered a thin branch to add it to the nest.   I am sure the female was very pleased.

Continue reading “In the Great Blue Herons’ Rookery – I.”

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They Will Soon Become Parents – II.

Antelopes choose a calm and relatively safe place for rest, but they do not allow themselves to relax completely, as coyotes may be nearby. On that warm, calm morning, thankfully, there were no coyotes around.

The young doe in the photo above is pregnant.  Sometime in late May or early June, she will give birth to a calf after 250 days of gestation.

Continue reading “They Will Soon Become Parents – II.”

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Mother is Coming Back

From time to time the female Great Blue Heron left the nest and her young.  When she came back, the chicks always stretched out their thin long necks in anticipation of food. 

Life goes on.


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Female Great Blue Heron and Her Four Babies

Yesterday I visited the Great Blue Herons rookery again and this time it looked differently.  Two nesting sites were abandoned and one nest was not completed  and a lone Heron stood on it. 

What’s happened?  Why did some Herons leave their nests?  I wish I had answers…

Even though I was sad I was happy that most of Great Blue Herons had already babies.

Continue reading “Female Great Blue Heron and Her Four Babies”

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Western Grebes in Their Courtship Dance

Over the past few years I missed several courtship dances performed by Western Grebes because I couldn’t predict when they would start.

But it’s one thing to predict this beautiful dance and another to capture it.  

This dance only lasts a few seconds and you have to react quickly.  Last week I somehow managed to capture the last part of the Grebes’ dance.

Life goes on.


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The Great Blue Heron Rookery at Farmington Bay -II.

Some male Great Blue Herons were returning to the nests with building material in form of thin sticks, others came to check how their females were doing.  

I received a funny comment on Flickr on one of my previous photographs of Great Blues Herons behavior in their nests.

Great behavioral portrait of the GBH nest building with a greeting at each contact while she tells him how she wants the living room and nursery decorated and he goes out to find the furniture.”

Ethan A. Winning

Continue reading “The Great Blue Heron Rookery at Farmington Bay -II.”

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One of the Ways to Land

I have never seen an American White Pelican land the way the guy above does. Apparently, every Pelican has several landing techniques in its arsenal.

Life goes on.


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Nice Landing

American Avocets have arrived in Northern Utah a few weeks ago, when it was still cold and it snowed almost every day.  

I was worried about how Avocets were doing but this week welcomed us with the first warm sunny days.  I am sure that these birds are happy that spring has finally arrived.

Life goes on.


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Notes to Self. Nature as Blessing

June 24, 2022.  Sunrise on the Bear River MBR.

Just a few days ago we celebrated my late husband’s birthday. It seemed that everything would go on as usual but in a few weeks everything would change dramatically.

It is hard for me to post my photos taken that terrible summer.  I’m still trying to figure out how I could photograph back then, forcing myself to go out for a couple of hours when it was possible.  

The hours spent in nature and with the birds have been my blessing.  Today I even dread to think what would happen to me without them.

Six months have passed since the death of my husband. The further you go, the harder it gets and the more it hurts. They say time heals. It’s a big lie!

Life goes on.

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American Avocets Huddle Together in a Strong Icy Wind -II.

That day weather changed constantly on the Great Salt Lake.  Sometimes the strong wind calmed down a little and the sun appeared from behind the clouds and then it became cloudy again.  

When the sun shone the avocets perked up, the birds raised their heads and looked around.

Continue reading “American Avocets Huddle Together in a Strong Icy Wind -II.”

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Where Should I Go Next

Encounters with coyotes don’t always end with a photo, but there are days when coyotes stop briefly for different reasons. I always look forward to these moments.

Life goes on.


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American Avocets Huddle Together in a Strong Icy Wind

American Avocets have made a long migration journey to Northern Utah without knowing what awaits them this early spring.  

Yesterday, an icy strong wind raged on the Antelope island for a couple of hours in the early morning.

Avocets huddled together, waiting for wind to die down.  Some were lucky, they managed to get to the center, where it was warmer, other found place on the edges.

The wind was so strong that my only choice was to photograph birds from the car, using my bean bag to keep my telephoto lens steady.

Continue reading “American Avocets Huddle Together in a Strong Icy Wind”

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Great Blue Heron in His Shelter

March weather in Utah is often unpredictable.  The sun is just shining and everything is so peaceful, and suddenly in a matter of minutes the clouds hide the sun and a strong wind comes out of nowhere.

Birds have different ways of escaping from the storm approaching. Everyone has their own place to hide. This heron found shelter in a thicket of dry reeds to wait out the strong wind and rain.

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Flying Tundra Swans

This winter, with its endless rain and snow I began to believe that I would never see Tundra Swans on the Bear River MBR this year.  

Nature last week had mercy and gave us four sunny days, drying dirt roads quiet well and yesterday I was able to get to the refuge.

The opportunity to see Tundra Swans again gave me not only a joy but also a feeling that there is some certainty in this life.  

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Wild Turkeys in March – II.

Wild Turkey is smart and sensitive bird but it doesn’t exactly win over our hearts with its beauty or charm.  

While photographing these interesting birds, I thought that charm and beauty is always in the eye of beholder.  To me this bird is definitely adorable and beautiful. 

Life goes on.


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On Great Blue Herons

I think the best way to learn about birds is to go out in the nature and simply watch them.  The longer you watch, the more you learn.

A few weeks ago I came across a group of Great Blue Herons that were unusually close to the shore, and I was very lucky to observe them and their behavior for about two and a half hours.  I learned a lot about Great Blues that day.  

Here some more photos of a Great Blues Heron’s landing on the ice that is always  carefully thought from the beginning till the end.

Continue reading “On Great Blue Herons”

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Excellent Vocalists

Song Sparrows are very vocal and sing throughout the year. Their songs can be short and last a few seconds, while others are five seconds long.

Female Song Sparrows are attracted to males that have learned to sing a wider repertoire of songs.  These males can perform about six to twenty different melodies with only slight variations.

The Song Sparrow I photographed two weeks ago in our local park wasn’t going to perform his songs in front of me, he just perched briefly on a log and then disappeared. 

Life goes on.


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The Leader is Chosen

Frozen Great Salt Lake covered with thin layer of snow.  A group of Northern Pintails and Mallards gathered near a long narrow strip of water.  Looks like they are having a social meeting.

We are separated only by the rocky shore with narrow winding paths. I really want to get closer to this group, but I’m afraid to frighten away the ducks. 

While watching a group I see how suddenly the drake Mallard becomes an unspoken leader among Northern Pintails and Mallards and the initiator of the take-off.  I am guessing he sent a warning signal to the flock when I tried to get a little closer.

Ducks are remarkable birds, they listen, observe carefully behavior of others and very sensitive to warning signals.

The first to respond to the leader’s command to take off are a few females Mallards.  You can see them on the photo above.

Continue reading “The Leader is Chosen”

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Cedar Waxwing at the Garr Ranch

When out in the field I often have the strange feeling that I might be missing something if I don’t stop at that spot or go down this path.

As I pulled up to the Garr Ranch, I had no desire to walk there sinking in the deep snow, but I got out of the car anyway and walked along a narrow path surrounded by centuries-old trees.  Knowing myself well, I would definitely think later that because of my laziness I missed something very interesting and important there.

The path was short and soon I found myself surrounded by tall reeds which seemed to be a perfect blind.  

My first thought was that I made a mistake being in this place but after a few minites later I saw several Cedar Waxwings that came to perch on branches with berries.  I was stunned, shocked, because I didn’t expect to see Cedar Waxwings in winter at the Garr Ranch.

Continue reading “Cedar Waxwing at the Garr Ranch”

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Chukar Partridge on Antelope Island

Yesterday I joined those who were eager to get out of the house and spend a time in nature after a snow storm and, if I’m lucky, photograph at least one lazy bison dozing in the snow on Antelope Island.

The first bird I saw made me stop and point at it my “telescope”, that is my telephoto lens, which often serves as a “telescope”, and to, my indescribable joy, I saw a Chukar Partridge in my viewfinder.    

Continue reading “Chukar Partridge on Antelope Island”

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Your Catch is Now Mine

Usually, Great Blue Herons do not steal fish from Goldeneyes, but in winter, when food is scarсe you don’t distain anything. Within seconds, the fish was stolen from the Goldeneye and eaten by Great Blue.  This is survival!

Life goes on.


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Successful Fishing – II.

There are trips to Bear River MBR that are filled with all sorts of opportunities.  My last trip was just like that.  Spending about two and a half hours with Great Blue Herons and watching them up close was a real treat.

I noticed how differently herons fish in winter. Some prefer to fish in the water, while others stay on the shore, carefully and patiently peering into the water and waiting for fish to come.

Continue reading “Successful Fishing – II.”

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Puzzling Behavior

Last week watching and photographing Common Goldeneyes I was puzzled by their behavior. 

Among the Goldeneyes were constant fights over fish in the water but some of them managed to escape their attackers and carry their catch on the ice.  But for some reason they often left the fish there uneaten. Why?

Continue reading “Puzzling Behavior”

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Successful Fishing

The Bear River is mostly frozen this winter but there are a few narrow strips of water closer to the shore.  Great Blue Herons and Goldeneyes gather to fish there.

Herons cope well with the cold, ice, snow and winds of our harsh winters. When the river and marshes freeze, they either begin to prey on small mammals or find a few ice-free patches of water.

So, the Heron in the photo above found open water and decided to go fishing.  

Continue reading “Successful Fishing”

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