Ring-necked Pheasant – Bear River National Wildlife Refuge, Utah: For many years I have wanted to visit and shoot at the Bear River National wildlife Refuge but timing was never right until the spring of 2009. On a trip that took me from the Tallgrass Prairie in Oklahoma to Yosemite National Park in California, I had the opportunity to stop at Bear River.
Though it rained most of the time I was there and I shot few photos, I did see a ton of birds. Avocets, stilts, phalaropes, long-billed curlew, ducks and pheasants were everywhere. Ring-necked Pheasants were very plentiful, and in full breeding plumage. Male pheasants seemed to be spaced about every five hundred feet or so, with each one crowing and cackling to attract a female.
This male pheasant was in hot pursuit of a female that seemed quite attracted to his displays. Most of the pheasants were in high grass, and though visible, foreground grasses obscured the birds for photography purposes. As I photographed this pheasant it moved into an area of shorter grass and began to flap its wings and crow. It seemed to display just for my camera and I was incredibly fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time. The bird flapped and crowed a few times and then like the others moved into higher grasses, with the female in hot pursuit this time.Nikon D300, Nikkor 500mm f4 with 1.4 Converter, Digital Capture ISO 200 -- This image was shot from my van using a window mounted tri-pod head for stability....engine off.