Sunday, April 29, 2012

Greater Sage-Grouse in motion

My friend Clare at The House asked me a few years ago to post some video of my mornings at a sage-grouse lek. Well, I am finally getting it figured out now that my new camera also takes video. Here is my first attempt at editing and posting videos, but at least I finally got a grouse video to share. Learning how to edit will hopefully improve soon.

A land of light breezes

The wind blows a bit  around here.

These two buildings are found just north and east of Fort Peck.

I find the new Blogger editor extremely annoying, difficult, and frustrating. Adding text and photos is not very intuitive and I wind up with text all over the place with little ability to make it go where I want to in the post. Perhaps it is the Blogger template I am using that limits my editing options - I don't know. I guess now it is worth what I am paying to have my blog here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Greater Sage-Grouse Dancing in the Moonlight

This was the photo I was hoping to re-create this spring. When I originally took this photo a few years ago, I didn't realize how difficult it would be to attempt to do again.

This year I looked at the moonset charts and figured out the one day that might work. It all worked fine except that I had wound up placing the blind too far to the south and the birds were not in line with the moon. The birds were there and the morning was gorgeous, but I was just out of place. Next year I guess.

The following photos are from a couple of mornings on a couple of different leks about 2 weeks ago. I can't believe that it has been two week already.

The birds were displaying with lots of activity well before sunrise, but the activity would slack off as the sun came up and the hens slowly departed the lek. One morning I was fortunate to have a few hens hang out on the lek well after sunrise, which prompted another round of vigorous displaying.

When the hens left, the fighting and staring at each other commenced.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sage-Grouse Mornings

The last week or so have been filled with sage-grouse mornings. Most of them were rather disappointing - misplaced blinds, spooked birds, or poor light. This morning made up for all of the previous mornings though. Blind was placed just right and the birds cooperated and so did the light. It was probably the best morning I have had on a lek for taking photos (all mornings spent on a lek are hard to beat, no matter how well the photos turn out). Even better was that the lek I was on was one of the most recently discovered leks in Valley County and was discovered by two of my former interns/seasonal employees - Meagan and Amy and has also been a source for a number of birds marked for two research projects I initiated. I camped on near the lek and although it was a tad cold last night - about 20 degrees or so - the view of the sky last night more than made up for it. It is spectacular to look up when there isn't any artificial light to see from horizon to horizon. Just the stars.
More photos to follow.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Early Morning Church Social

Except this is not what you might think. There was a lot of dancing, hollering, fighting and even sex at this gathering.

This is a rural church near Fort Peck where the Sharp-tailed Grouse have set up a lek. I had suspected this lek was there after observing a few birds displaying here early in February a couple of years ago. Dad confirmed that the lek was there this spring so this morning Crean joined me to go see the dancing.

The light wasn't the best, but we had a good time.

Crean even took a few photos with his camera. Below is one of his photos from this morning.