Golden Eagle, Turkey Vultures Plus a Covey of Gray Partridges

/, Box Elder County, Golden Eagles, Gray Partridges, Turkey Vultures, Utah/Golden Eagle, Turkey Vultures Plus a Covey of Gray Partridges

Turkey Vulture in northern UtahTurkey Vulture in northern Utah – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/3200, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I spent time in northern Utah yesterday and I was able to photograph a juvenile Golden Eagle, Turkey Vultures plus a covey of Gray Partridges. There seemed to be Turkey Vultures every where and it appeared that they may be getting ready to migrate south. There was a wake of them near a dead cow in one area that had adults and juveniles perched on boulders, fence posts and on the ground.

First year Golden Eagle on a lichen covered boulderFirst year Golden Eagle on a lichen covered boulder – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Near one of the ranches where I had seen about 70 Turkey Vultures perched on the fences and the corrals all of the vultures lifted off and I wondered what flushed them and before I could finish my thought I saw one bird stand out. That bird was a hatch year Golden Eagle flying past the vultures then over the road where it landed on the grassy hillside. It eventually walked over to a lichen covered boulder where it perched.

Something always happens when I see Golden Eagles, the light sucks, they are perched in a very unappealing location, they are obstructed from view, or as is most often the case, they are too far away. That was what happened yesterday, this Golden Eagle was just too far away to get the images of this species that I want.

And it stayed on that boulder, just out of reach.

Turkey Vulture thermoregulating on a fence postTurkey Vulture thermoregulating on a fence post – Nikon D810, f8, 1/800, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

But at least the Turkey Vultures cooperated. I found a pair perched on fence posts near some carrion in the road. Both of the Turkey Vultures appeared nervous at first but then they relaxed and used their wings to thermoregulate. This vulture was closer to me and I was able to take frame filling images of it as it bathed in the warmth of the sun.

Northern Utah Gray Partridge adultNorthern Utah Gray Partridge adult – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 250, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The big surprise yesterday though was when I located a covey of Gray Partridges near the Golden Spike National Historic Site! I’d seen them near the buildings there before but had never been able to get images of them so I was excited when I was able to get hundreds of photos of them.

Juvenile Gray Partridge portraitJuvenile Gray Partridge portrait – Nikon D810, f11, 1/640, ISO 250, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

And I was even able to get a few portraits images of a curious juvenile partridge. This was the first time I had been so close to these upland game birds. I may never be this close again so I fired away!

Juvenile Gray PartridgeJuvenile Gray Partridge – Nikon D810, f11, 1/640, ISO 250, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

There were a few adults in the covey but the majority of the birds were juveniles. They picked at seeds on the ground and scurried around until the whole covey crossed the road and moved into taller grasses. It was fun photographing and watching them through my lens.

I just never know what I’ll find when I am out looking for birds.

Life is good.

Mia

7 Comments

  1. Utahbooklover August 27, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    I enjoyed these images and your commentary—especially liked the partridges.

  2. Elephant's Child August 26, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    It looks like yet another wonderful day.

  3. Liz Cormack August 26, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    I agree with Kim…..the little yellow flowers make the Golden Eagle stand out. The markings on the Gray Partridges are fascinating. Not fond of Turkey Vultures but you do make them appealing!

  4. Patty Chadwick August 26, 2016 at 8:47 am

    I ‘m sure glad I didn’t miss these images! I never imagines that I would actually find an images of a vulture “beautiful”…interesting, yes, but not beautiful, but that first image is really BEAUTIFUL!!!

  5. Diane McPherson-Stern August 26, 2016 at 7:59 am

    Mia you are a magnificent Photographer. Thanks for sharing your work. Love it. Like especially the Turkey Vulture. They are an important in the scheme of things. Beautiful in their own way.

  6. Bob McPherson August 26, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Beautiful images, Mia. Your joy is evident.

  7. Kim August 26, 2016 at 6:03 am

    I happen to love the Golden Eagle pic. The little yellow flowers make it stand out. I believe you’re too hard on yourself. All your photos are AH-MAZING!

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