Elusive birds captured – finally!: LAPC

One of the challenges of photography is capturing images of elusive birds. Sometimes certain species are not considered difficult to photograph, they only elude YOU. Here are a few of mine.

Intelligent & elusive birds

I have been trying to get a decent photo of a black-billed magpie for a long time. These intelligent birds usually take flight when I approach. I finally captured the essence of a magpie recently near my home. This photo shows its long, elegant tail, striking markings, and iridescent plumage.

Slide the slider to the left to see the type of photos I have taken in the past of magpies. This one was near Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park. It teased me by hiding behind the sagebrush.

Elusive birds - magpie March 2021Black-billed magpie May 2018

Shy & elusive

I’m lucky because mountain bluebirds nest in my yard. When I visit Glass Buttes, an hour away, during the spring months, the bluebirds pop out ready to be photographed.

However at my home, the birds are especially shy, as you can see in the second shot. They somehow sense I’ve picked up a camera and fly away or turn their back towards me.

Mountain bluebird pair April 2018Elusive birds - mountain bluebird

Distant & elusive

I have seen white pelicans at several locations. On a recent trip to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, I finally got some good photos of them on a pond north of the Refuge. I like this photo because it looks like the one on the left is lecturing the one closest to it. The double crested cormorants are listening attentively. I posted a couple more pictures of them on my recent Spring Birds post.

The second picture is the view I usually get of white pelicans. Way too far away! This lone pelican was near Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone.

White pelicans, cormorants near Malheur April 2021Elusive birds White pelican at Yellowstone

Burrowing & elusive birds

The last pictures are of burrowing owls. Instead of taking flight, this little owl often hides underground in its burrow. I was lucky to get a photo of this one near Malheur.

On a previous trip, at another location nearby, windy conditions caused this owl to take shelter. Can you see its golden eyes peering over the dirt mound?

Burrowing owl near Malheur NWR April 2018Elusive birds Burrowing owl

I will continue to pursue some of my most elusive birds in an effort to get better pictures. The quest continues…

Lens Artists Photo Challenge – Taking Flight

23 thoughts on “Elusive birds captured – finally!: LAPC

  1. These are terrific Siobhan, and I really liked the way you illustrated how tough they are to locate and to capture. Your successful shots are wonderful, especially knowing they are rare and hard-earned! Loved that owl in the final image especially!

    • Thanks, Tina! Yes, I was glad to get pictures of some of those birds but I’ll always be trying to get better ones. 😀

  2. Great use of the slider feature to help us compare photos.

    Love the burrowing owl photos. I didn’t even know such a creature existed until 1999, when finishing a very long trail race in Marin County, close to the finish at Stinson beach at dusk, small balls of fluff kept darting across the sandy trail. I thought I was hallucinating. Thankfully a local at the finish line told me I’d seen burrowing owls.

  3. Oh, I know your frustration all too well, Siobhan! Some birds can be frustratingly difficult to track down and then even more difficult to photograph. But I suppose that’s what makes our hobby(-ies) so fulfilling?

  4. I think you’ve done a good job of capturing these elusive birds! I especially like that last photo of the owl peeping over the mound – he has lots of character 🙂

  5. It is a quest, Siobhan! I haven’t had as much luck as you have. But I lose patience sooner than you do! I admire your persistence. Those golden eyes peaking out behind the grasses is a marvelous catch. I’ve never seen a magpie in the wild either. Great captures.

  6. Successful treasure hunt, Siobhan! I know the problem all too well – but you are persistent and you get what you want. Love your owls! Magpies are nesting in our neighbouring garden, so I could photograph them if I tried, I guess. But somehow i never do…they eat my little newborn birds from our nesting small birds, so I …well, I don’t particularly like the magpies. Even if they are beautiful. Now happy hunting!

  7. I love the treasure hunting – and know the problems…but you were successful! And my comment went away somehow, so I try again. Love your owls! We don’t often see owls around here, but I hear them. Magpies we have at our neighbours’ and I guess I could try photographing them…but they eat the little newborn birds in my garden…so I am not a fan. Good luck treasure hunting!

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