Nesting time for Black-billed Magpies

Black-billed Magpie lifting off from a bush with a twigBlack-billed Magpie lifting off from a bush with a twig – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I dipped yesterday on the Snow Geese, they weren’t where they had been reported but I did see my first of the year Sandhill Cranes and Swallows although they were too far away to get high quality images.

But I did have some fun with Black-billed Magpies that are busy building their nest. Typically they take 40 to 50 days to build or renovate their old nests and they are very active during this time.

Black-billed Magpie flying in with nesting materialBlack-billed Magpie flying in with nesting material – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 350mm, natural light

I use a mobile blind when photographing these Black-billed Magpies so as to not disturb their normal activity which is especially critical during nesting season or when the birds have chicks.

There was a sharp, cold wind blowing from the north yesterday and before I was finished photographing these Black-billed Magpies my hands had gone numb.

I had a great time with these birds but they are a challenge to photograph because of the high contrast between the blacks and whites and because these magpies fly fast. A challenge; yes, but I enjoy it!

Mia

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