In the past I’ve referred to Chukars as “rock hoppers”. This image gives some indication as to why.
1/2000, f/6.3, ISO 500, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM, not baited, set up or called in
Chukars are ground loving birds that are reluctant to fly. Instead they hop from rock to rock, rock to ground or ground to rock when traversing rough terrain. And a descending hop can cover great distance without even unfolding their wings – there have been times when I’ve seen them fall so far that I’ve thought to myself, “that landing must have hurt”.
This hop wasn’t far but I liked the shot because of the behavior and the clean background for the extended foot and leg. I also enjoy the fact that the rock is dark – part of the Farmington Canyon Complex that is common on the southern two-thirds of Antelope Island rather than the bright white Tintic Quartzite that dominates the northern third of the island. Those white rocks can be a photographic pain.
I suppose some would call this image a “novelty shot” and I’m just fine with that. We all need some occasional novelty in our lives…
I don’t often have opportunities with Peregrine Falcons in flight but this bird changed my fortunes for the better.
1/2000, f/6.3, ISO 500, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4 tc, canvas added for composition, not baited, set up or called in
I came across the falcon slightly less than a year ago as it was feeding on a duck in the middle of a rural road near Bicknell, Utah. (photographers may be interested in the effects of depth of field at f/6.3 on the road surface)
1/1600, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4 tc, canvas added for composition, not baited, set up or called in
The bird flushed and landed in some nearby trees but eventually it circled a few times which gave me some opportunities for flight shots (you can see duck debris and blood on its bill and feet). It became obvious that the bird wasn’t very happy to have been forced off its meal so I left to photograph some nearby Sandhill Cranes. For obvious reasons it always worries me when I see a raptor feeding on something on a road (this duck may or may not have been road kill) but when I returned later in the morning both duck and falcon were gone so I believe there was a happy ending.
We’re in the middle of a stormy/cloudy period and it looks like I won’t have much opportunity for bird photography in the foreseeable future so you may (or may not) see more older shots posted here than usual for a while. I already have cabin fever and it’s only been a few days.
I can only imagine how some of you folks back east must feel…