Chukar images – 4 hits – 1 miss

Chukar calling on a snow-covered rock

Chukar calling on a snow-covered rock

Yesterday I spotted a covey of Chukars on Antelope Island foraging in the snow, this Chukar was pulling guard duty and standing on top of a snow covered rock and for a bit it was calling. I haven’t heard that sound in a few months so I was overjoyed to get images of it.

The Chukar takes off running

The Chukar takes off running

All of a sudden the calling Chukar took off running, I never saw what had alarmed it.

Nervous Chukar in the snow

Nervous Chukar in the snow

These upland game birds move fast when they need to.

Running Chukar

Running Chukar

And it can be a challenge to follow them with a long lens and keep focus.

Clipped the bill

Clipped the bill

This is a shot that makes me either want to cry or kick my butt. I kept focus, the snow was flying and the red foot was exposed… but I hadn’t moved my lens fast enough and clipped the bird’s bill. I really hate it when I mess up. Live and learn.

Hope you all have a Happy New Years Eve.


* All images taken with a Nikon D300, lens resting on my Noodle, f7.1, ISO 640, between 1/1600 and 1/2000, Nikkor 200-400mm with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in.

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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. These are amazing images, Mia, the last looks great even with the clipped bill:)

  2. Honestly I don’t think clipping the bill is a big deal – kind of like a “bye bye” run. You still got the motion and that is the important part of the composition in that shot. They are lovely birds and I SWEAR I’m going to figure out how you get such amazing clear shots zoomed in with that f stop. I’m still struggling getting clear when they aren’t moving! :)

    • Sherry,

      My lens does help me get these images because it has reach and VR/IS, I think VR/IS is very important for birds who seem to be always on the move. Plus shutter speed is critical. Thanks much for commenting.

  3. Hello Mia, Great shots of these Chukars. A bird I haven’t seen yet. Even the last photo tells a story very well! Happy New year, Mia and everyone.

  4. It is so colourful amidst the white snow, they are beautiful, and have an excellent new year in 2013 Mia.

  5. Beautiful images, Mia! That’s one bird I’d love to see. I know what you mean about missing the last shot!!

  6. Love these – what a neat looking bird. I know what you mean, but the shot is still a great one.

  7. Hello Mia, Some more great shots. How do you shoot with your ISO that high? If I try anything over 400 it has so much grain that I end up throwing them away. Thanks and happy shooting. Have a Happy New Year!.

    • Hi Earl, I’ve found as long as I get the exposure right I can boost my ISO higher than I used to think I could. There is a bit less detail in higher ISO images but sometimes if I want the shot I will increase my ISO beyond what I normally find comfortable. Thanks for commenting.

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