Yesterday I said I didn’t know what the day would bring but to bring it on.
Bring it on it DID!
I was stunned and amazed to find not just one Greater Sage-Grouse lek but TWO! I was super excited at the first lek because the males were still displaying for the females about 20 minutes after the sun rose and we were able to drive hidden behind a huge berm of dirt surrounding a man made watering hole so we didn’t disturb the grouse. We stayed and photographed the action on the lek until all the grouse had left.
I was so excited to watch and photograph these amazing upland game birds and even though my images show the birds small in the frame we didn’t dare move any closer because we absolutely did not want to flush the grouse off of the lek. Greater Sage-Grouse are in trouble in many locations due to habitat destruction and I certainly do not want to cause any disturbances at a lek. There is never a time when an image is more important than the safety and well being of the subject. Ever.
Listening to the sounds they made, watching the males display and capturing it with my camera was a dream come true! Yes, I had tears of joy fill my eyes but they didn’t stop me from focusing on the birds. I will be writing more about them on the lek soon but posting from the road has been problematic and exasperating times 2.
The second lek was further up the road and even though most of the birds has already left there were a few males displaying at the edge of a mountain lake, one of them was within 3 feet of the water! On the other side of the lake I could see a few females hanging around but they soon flew off.
I photographed this Mountain Bluebird near the second lek and I was bothered at first by the white flag near its feet on the fence but those little white flags help the grouse because they see them and don’t run into the fences. Collisions with barb wire fences causes a lot of sage grouse mortality.
I am still in daze about finding these leks thanks to Ron’s great hearing and my eagle eyes.
Life is amazing!