We went out to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge on Sunday with a mound of optics and warm clothes. We counted 20 species, not bad for dead-of-winter car birding, with almost no open water to speak of. Not a tundra swan to be found, where we have often seen thousands roosting on the ice at this time of year.
The skies were filled with raptors, mostly the rough-legged hawk, a winter visitor to northern Utah. Two bald eagles, uncounted northern harriers, and one fluffed-up short-eared owl. We saw and photographed the same individual on the way in to the refuge and on the return. Photographed with my 70-200 and D700, this image is cropped to about 40% of the original frame height.
Once again, I lamented the full-frame of the D700, should have brought out the D2X. Iconoclastic, I know, but I miss my de facto 300mm lens. And even that wasn’t long enough to work with birds. Getting into the game is an investment, but I would surely enjoy it. Even without being able to make the pictures I see out there, it’s great to have a world-class birding environment an hour away from the palace. I’m looking forward to heading back out there as soon as it warms up enough for the first migrating ducks.