Chukar images – 4 hits – 1 miss

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Chukar calling on a snow-covered rockChukar 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 runningThe 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 snowNervous Chukar in the snow

These upland game birds move fast when they need to.

Running ChukarRunning Chukar

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

Clipped the billClipped 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.

My score for yesterday: Chukar images – 4 hits – 1 miss

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.


  1. Susan December 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm

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

    • Mia McPherson January 6, 2013 at 2:27 pm

      Thank you Susan, Chukars are amazing birds.

  2. Sherry in MT December 31, 2012 at 9:20 am

    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! 🙂

    • Mia McPherson January 6, 2013 at 2:27 pm


      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. Reid Barclay December 31, 2012 at 9:03 am

    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. Bob Bushell December 31, 2012 at 7:00 am

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

    • Mia McPherson January 6, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks Bob, they do look colorful against the snow.

  5. Hilke Breder December 31, 2012 at 6:51 am

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

    • Mia McPherson January 6, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks Hilke, I hope you get to see these birds soon. They are fun!

  6. Earl December 31, 2012 at 5:46 am

    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!.

    • Mia McPherson January 6, 2013 at 2:19 pm

      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.

  7. Dan Huber December 31, 2012 at 6:04 am

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

    • Mia McPherson January 6, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      Thank you Dan, I am still kicking my butt for missing that last shot.

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