Curlews, Willets and Chukars

Long-billed Curlew Bill-stroking behaviorLong-billed Curlew Bill-stroking behavior – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Yesterday was bright and sunny and after four days of not being in the field it felt great to be out again. I photographed Long-billed Curlews, Willets and Chukars along with a few other birds and a Pronghorn buck. It was a beautiful spring day.

This pair of Long-billed Curlews were courting, the male was Bill-stroking the female but he mustn’t have impressed her much because she walked away from him at the end and he flew away. This image shows the difference in bill size between the male (left) and female (right) nicely, the female’s bill in curlews is longer and more decurved. I will post more photos of this encounter later.

Western Willet on RabbitbrushWestern Willet on Rabbitbrush – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I’d photographed my first of the year Willets last week but the light was poor so getting this one in bright sun on a spring day make me happy. It was a bit breezy yesterday morning and a gust had knocked the Willet off balance slightly and in the frame it was getting its balance back.

Chukar eating grassChukar eating grass – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 320, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I didn’t see many Chukars yesterday but this one was on the ground eating fresh spring grasses with a bit of the grass stuck on its bill.

There are more birds and water along the causeway to the island than I have seen in some time. It looks like spring is in full swing.

Life is good



  1. Elephant's Child April 17, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Such a happy series. Contagious happiness.

  2. April Olson April 17, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Beautiful. I was looking forward to going out to Antelope Island this weekend but a head cold has kept me home. I will live vicariously through yours and Ron’s photos this weekend. How were the gnats? I don’t miss those!

  3. Patty Chadwick April 17, 2016 at 7:45 am

    A nice Spring series…especially like the looks of hat nice, GREEN grass. We’re having beautiful, warm, blue-sky weather here, nice to know your’s has improved, too…especially like the curlews. His ardor and her indifference are obvious…

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