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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO

    Ol' Sage Finds Some, Well, Sage-Grouse

    In 2000 the Sage-Grouse species was split, recognizing a smaller and more active bird in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah. It is called the Gunnison Sage-Grouse, as distinct from the familiar (to me) Greater Sage-Grouse of NW Colorado and Wyoming. And Thursday I journeyed down to the area to try to spot the birds on a "lek," i.e., mating grounds.

    As luck would have it, I hooked onto a tour run by a local group that afforded the convenience of a trailer used as a blind. It was an experience only a hardcore birder could have loved. We were in position at 5:30 AM, well before first light, and the supposed lek was 300 yards away in a field below. The blind/trailer enabled me to set up my high-power optics ("Questar"), and a good thing at that. Just before 6 AM one could make out black-and-white figures in the distance, and as the light improved see that they were indeed the desired birds. There were about 20 present. But at 6:18 AM, still well before dawn, a Golden Eagle flew over the lek and scattered the birds for good. They would return the next morning, long after I had left. So, it was a "tick" on my list -- a life bird -- but not very satisfying looks. There was no chance to view the elaborate displays rituals ("mating dance") or to examine the interaction between male and female birds.

    sagegrouse

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    Quote Originally Posted by sagegrouse View Post
    In 2000 the Sage-Grouse species was split, recognizing a smaller and more active bird in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah. It is called the Gunnison Sage-Grouse, as distinct from the familiar (to me) Greater Sage-Grouse of NW Colorado and Wyoming. And Thursday I journeyed down to the area to try to spot the birds on a "lek," i.e., mating grounds.

    As luck would have it, I hooked onto a tour run by a local group that afforded the convenience of a trailer used as a blind. It was an experience only a hardcore birder could have loved. We were in position at 5:30 AM, well before first light, and the supposed lek was 300 yards away in a field below. The blind/trailer enabled me to set up my high-power optics ("Questar"), and a good thing at that. Just before 6 AM one could make out black-and-white figures in the distance, and as the light improved see that they were indeed the desired birds. There were about 20 present. But at 6:18 AM, still well before dawn, a Golden Eagle flew over the lek and scattered the birds for good. They would return the next morning, long after I had left. So, it was a "tick" on my list -- a life bird -- but not very satisfying looks. There was no chance to view the elaborate displays rituals ("mating dance") or to examine the interaction between male and female birds.

    sagegrouse
    Looks like I know what you should be doing next weekend, too.

    Great story, glad you saw part of what you went to see. Next time, maybe more.

    Nature works on its own schedule.
    "Enjoy every sandwich" -- Warren Zevon

  3. #3
    That sounds pretty cool sagegrouse. Next time post a picture so we can enjoy your talents!

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