Up early again this morning for another morning of lek surveys. I was able to get out on Friday morning to look for the reported new Greater Sage-grouse lek. The new lek wound up being an known lek and it had 17 male sage-grouse and about 7 hens on it. It was a rare morning with no wind and I was able to hear the birds displaying from about a mile away. I sat and watched them for a while as the sun slowly emerged and then was swallowed by clouds. Then back to the office for a day of meetings.
Sunday morning Benton and I went to check out the lek closest to town on the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. This lek is small I was wouldn't have been surprised if I found no birds this year but instead it had one more displaying male then last year's five. Unfortunately, this lek is quite a ways from the road and required a spotting scope to count. I had forgotten how difficult looking through a scope can be when you are first learning and Benton was unable to figure the deal out. He either had both eyes closed and couldn't see anything of course or with both eyes open, was unable to focus on the image in the eyepiece. We'll keep practicing. We both got to see Mule Deer, Pronghorn, Western Meadowlarks, and a nesting Great Horned Owl. The best part was that Benton told me he had a good time and would do it again despite getting up at 5:30 in the morning.
This morning my intern Susan Hult and I are heading out again for another round of lek surveys. I will try to post some photos from the last few days along with a post on our surveys later this evening.