The Birds Are Back In Town

Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus), City Creek Canyon Utah

A short hike in City Creek Canyon reveals a number of migratory bird species back in town from their wintering grounds. I was able to see and photograph Lazuli Bunting, Black-headed Grosbeak, Western Tanager, Chipping Sparrow, and Black-chinned Hummingbird. Made some progress on my Western Tanager trophy shot, but I haven't nailed it just yet.

Western Tanager

Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana), Killian Canyon, Utah

The Western Tanagers are in. I just found out a few days ago, on a short hike in Killian Canyon, where I was lucky enough to capture this image. The subject is sublime, even the situation with spring green leaves and red branches of dogwood creating the backdrop is ideal. The execution leaves room for improvement, and I'm looking forward to trying.

Really the only thing wrong with this image is the blurry foreground branches cutting across and cluttering the frame. However, they're also likely what's making this bird comfortable enough to stay put for a moment at close range. The compositions in my mind may require a lot of time in the field or very cooperative birds, and quite possibly both.

Not too many weeks ago I was staring at the snowy ramparts east of Salt Lake and daydreaming about photography in the high cirques of the Wasatch. Seeing flashes of red in the greening canyon bottoms has fixated my mind on other photographic goals. Right now is the time to be in the green zone photographing brightly colored birds alighted on flowering branches, as if in an Audubon print.