Monday, April 27, 2009
April is nearly gone?
Between early morning lek counts, my own early morning lek photography, family, and an ugly work schedule including being gone to Wyoming for a week instructing a class, I have not had much time for anything else lately. Oh yeah, and my computer is finally back from being repaired too.
I have had a good time watching the Sharp-tailed Grouse on the lek this spring. Here are some more photos from a morning a couple of weeks ago. It was another refreshing morning at the lek although this time something flushed the birds from the lek just as the light was getting good enough to begin taking photos. The small hill where the lek is located was quiet for about 3 minutes and then the birds began flying back to the lek from all directions and they started again, right where they left off.
It was apparent that much of the breeding activities have already happened and there were fewer females coming to the lek. The males would often display for only a short while and then they would wind up paired off staring at each other, occasionally jockeying for position. Most often a neighbor pair would break off the challenge and begin displaying in opposite directions, prompting many the males to break off their own stare-down to hustle over to the other side of their spot on the lek and engage in another face off.
Occasionally a fight would break out and feathers would fly until they figured out where the line between their respective areas were.
About 8:00 the birds slowly started moving off the lek. The last few birds hung around and stared at each other for a while.
Then they too took off.
Posted by John Carlson at 10:26 AM