Can't Touch This (Sora)


Can't Touch This -- Sora (Porzana carolina)


Can't Touch This (Sora)Can't Touch This (Sora)Part of the rail family you will find the Sora among the reeds of the marsh. If you are really lucky, you may see one brave the open to feed.

As seen in May/June 2022 Issue of Montana Outdoors Magazine.


Big news for Lea.F Images --- my image of a Sora (above) earned a two page feature in the May/June 2022 issue of Montana Outdoors! This is an award wining magazine with a focus on conservation and wildlife education.


(link to magazine:  



Since this is a huge step forward for my wildlife photography business I wanted to share the story behind the picture.  It was late May in Butte, Montana when a winter storm pushed through leaving behind a fresh layer of wet snow and a few days of cold temperatures. The summer influx of migrating birds was already under way bringing in small song birds like warblers and swallows. Given that cold snaps place extra calorie demands on these tiny creatures, I knew I would find many out actively feeding in order to maintain their body temperatures.


Spring Snow (Wilson's Warbler)Spring Snow (Wilson's Warbler)Description: A late spring snow does not slow down this Wilson's warbler.
Species: Wilson's Warbler ( Cardellina pusilla )
Taken in Butte, Montana
Barn SwallowAn active feeder of insects, this swallow fluffs it feathers to help contain body heat waiting for warmer temps to bring our the bugs.
                  Wilson's Warbler ( Cardellina pusilla )                                  Barn Swallow ( Hirundo rustica )



So where did I go?   To an urban trail along a spring fed waterway just minutes from where I was living at the time. Now you may wonder why?  Well, water is the key to life for all creatures and when it is cold, a spring fed water source will stay ice free and is going to be a popular place. As a wildlife photographer paying attention to details like this will often lead to photo opportunities. Keeping this in mind,  I walked up and down the trail several times looking and listening carefully for who might come out to feed when I spotted the Sora, a member of the rail family.  While they are the most abundant bird in the rail family they often stay our of sight as aptly described below.  


Sora Description: -- All About Birds Website


"A descending whinny emanates from the depths of cattails and rushes, but the source of this sound rarely shows itself. This secretive brown-and-gray marsh bird is a Sora, but drab it is not. When it finally pokes its head out of the reeds its bright yellow bill might have you thinking about Halloween candy corn. The Sora walks slowly through shallow wetlands a bit like a chicken that has had too much coffee, nervously flicking its tail and exposing the white feathers below."  (All About Birds, 2022)



Not only did I find the Sora, but every picture you see here was captured that same morning.  



Wilson's Snipe Spotted Sandpiper      

                               Wilson's Snipe ( Gallinago delicata )                                  Spotted Sandpiper ( Actitis macularius )

Yellow-Headed Blackbird Muskrat

            Yellow-headed Blackbird ( Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus )                         Muskrat  ( Ondatra zibethicus )


Not everyone is a wildlife photographer and not everyone lives in Montana, so well known for its open space and wildlife. But the story behind this Sora picture is really about finding wildlife in urban areas. You do not have to live in the woods and know everything about habitat, food sources and weather related behaviors to find wildlife.  It is all about paying attention to your surroundings or as my husband likes to say "If you want to see more wildlife, become a better observer!"  You will often be amazed at what you might find right in your own neighborhood if you just take the time to look.



Off to my next adventure so be sure to stay tuned to hear what I discover next.


Until next time,


Lea Frye


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                     Wild Animals / Wild Landscapes



Love your birds stories.(non-registered)
Lea, Your photos so great way for me learn Montana nature!!! A lot of inspiration !!!!
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