Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lek Therapy

After too many weeks of way too much snow, too much time in a car, too many miles on the road, too much time in front of a computer, and too much time away from home, I was able to spend a few glorious spring days at home last weekend. The weather was perfect - little to no wind and clear skies. Perfect for watching grouse early in the morning so on Friday night Benton, Addie and I headed out to a nearby Greater Sage-Grouse lek to set up the blind in preparation for an early morning on Saturday.

My helpers.

The little dark spot in the photo is my blind at the edge of the lek. The next morning just as dawn was gracing the clear star-filled sky, I pulled off the main road and began my hike to the blind in the dark. As I was walking in I heard my first Mountain Plover of the year call from somewhere to the west of my route. I arrived at the blind and got set up and I could hear the birds displaying to the left and right of the blind. But nothing in front.

As the horizon began to get lighter, I still couldn't find a bird in front of the blind. Just as it was getting light however the females began to show up on the lek and the birds coalesced around the hens in front of me.

As the hens moved through the lek, the display activities really picked up.

The displaying continued and the usual fights broke out here and there.

There were about 30 males on this lek but it was hard to get a good count with my limited field of view.

It was a spectacular morning and just what I needed.

One of my friends called this "Godzilla in a feather boa"


JK said...

Fantastic shots. I guess I never realized that so many males would congregate in the same area.

Blazingstar said...


We had the opportunity to visit a Sage Grouse lek in Alberta many years ago - something I'll never forget. Unfortunately they are so few left in AB now that it's not something I'd dare to do now.

Nice to see Addie too :-)

Camera Trap Codger said...

The Dudelsack dance and all the rest of it is obscenely lovely.

Guy said...

Hi John

These are just wonderful photos. I will have to try a blind on the farm I found it quite hard to get close to some of the wildlife. As a huge Godzilla fan I enjoyed the reference but I thought it also looked like the Skeksis in Dark Crystal. I am really impressed by your shots of the prairie wildlife and I have enjoyed reading through your earlier posts.

Thanks Guy

Connie Kogler said...

Absolutely stunning.

Camera Trap Codger said...

Love to see that mating game -- are you going to try video one of these days?