Roseate Visions

A Roseate Spoonbill in a Tidal LagoonA Roseate Spoonbill in a Florida Tidal Lagoon

The sky outside is cloudy and gray this morning so I thought I’d share some images with rosy colors to brighten my day and hopefully yours as well.


The Roseate Spoonbill is only found in North America and of the six species of spoonbills in the world it is the only species that has such vivid, rosy colors. Roseate Spoonbills have rose red eyes, carmine red in its scapulars and soft pink bodies.

A Roseate Dawn at Fort De SotoA Roseate Dawn at Fort De Soto

Clouds in the morning with the sun just beginning to rise over the horizon can create roseate dawn colors which are a visual delight. For me; when a day starts with rosy pink clouds it is easy to be optimistic about what wonders the day might bring.

The sky shown in my image above certainly had a roseate glow to it and although those clouds came onshore and the rain started falling those rosy clouds certainly brightened my day.

Roses in Dunedin, New ZealandRoses in Dunedin, New Zealand

The word Roseate has its roots in Middle English and stemmed from Latin roseus ‘rosy’ (from rosa ‘rose’). I can easily see the colors of these Roses in the Roseate Spoonbill and the clouds  in the images above.

Who needs rose-colored glasses when we have such beautiful roseate colors in the natural world?


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Open Air Concert of a Western Meadowlark Singing from a Sagebrush

Western Meadowlark singing from a SagebrushWestern Meadowlark singing from a Sagebrush – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, not baited or called in

Yesterday was a bit like a wonderful open air concert on Antelope Island with the calls of Curlews, Willets, Chukars, Red-winged Blackbirds and Western Meadowlarks floating through the air.  Some of the birds are still skittish but there were a few cooperative Western Meadowlarks yesterday that sang on top of the Sagebrush which have already sprouted their pale silvery-green leaves. The Meadowlark above was on a sage brush near the shore of the Great Salt Lake. In the background the grayish-tan is the sand along the shore and the blue in the upper part of the frame is actually the lake not the sky.

Sure, there are natural open air concerts for all 365 days of the year on Antelope Island State Park but after a long winter the spring concerts seem livelier, clearer and louder!


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Black-billed Magpie in flight over Antelope Island State Park

Black-billed Magpie in flightBlack-billed Magpie in flight – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR at 380mm, natural light, not baited

In all my visits to Antelope Island State Park I don’t think there has been a single time when I haven’t seen or heard Black-billed Magpies. There are times I don’t see the other year round residents of the island including the Bison and Pronghorn but I can always count on seeing magpies.

Black-billed Magpies have rather noisy calls and some people find that annoying but I don’t mind their calls at all. They are elegant looking birds with their strongly marked black and white plumage, their long tails and the flashes of iridescence in certain light. In this image I was able to capture that iridescence in almost all of the magpie’s dark plumage as it flew away from it’s nest with mud on it’s bill.


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A Willet and Redstem Filaree

A Willet and Redstem FilareeA Willet and Redstem Filaree – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 320, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Two days ago I was able to photograph a pair of Willets on Antelope Island calling from some rocks and foraging in the grasses and blooming Redstem Filaree. It was wonderful to have them in my viewfinder again after mentioning last week that our Willets have returned to Utah but that I wasn’t able to take images of them because they were too far away.

These Willets will mate, incubate and rear their young in the semiarid grasslands on Antelope Island where Pronghorn, Mule Deer and Bison roam. Willet chicks begin foraging on their own within hours of hatching. I have seen tiny but well camouflaged Willet chicks on the island but they are usually well hidden in the grasses and then later in the season the juveniles are more visible as they grow taller and move to the shoreline of the island.

I suspect I will soon be sharing more images of Willets with you from Utah and hopefully from southern Montana too.


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Surf-side Sentinel

Surf-side SentinelSurf-side Sentinel – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1500, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Great Blue Herons are wading birds that I photographed quite often at Fort De Soto County Park’s north beach while I lived in Florida. I have so many images of them in my archives that I haven’t opened to process so this morning I found this one to share. The Great Blue Heron was resting on the wrack line with the Gulf of Mexico’s waves in the background and the sea breeze had lifted it occipital plume. For some reason I just thought of the heron as a surf-side sentinel watching everything around it.

The image brings back memories of the sugar sand beneath my feet, the warmth of the sun on my skin and the smell of the sea. For me my passion for bird photography isn’t always about the images I create but is also about being there, soaking up my surroundings, savoring the sights, sounds and smells.


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