April 7, 2007

I arrived at the lek about 6:30 a.m. The grouse were already dancing. I scared them away when I entered my blind, but they were back on the lek before I could even sit in my chair, probably because it is prime time.

 

The above and below photographs were taken in low light, and are obviously out of focus. I thought that I would include them anyway with this set.

There's nothing like watching it getting lighter during dawn, and to then see a magical moment, the sunlight hitting the hills to the west, making them look almost pink. This was on top of seeing the moon to the south (not in the photograph). Anyone who has not seen a scene such as this needs to get up early once in a while and experience it.

I didn't have my camera settings correct, and thus, the colors in the next number of photographs are a little harsh.

Finally, the first female to visit the lek when I have been there. It was time for the males to look their best.

Any female that visits the lek - including the one on the right - will get a lot of attention.

The grouse in the background must play basketball; the dude looks tall.

Often, when a female visits the lek, the males just show off. However, the males ended up chasing this female through the lek to the point where I think that she just eventually left. The photograph is out of focus, but it does indicate movement.

These males need to practice their dancing instead of just sitting around looking at each other - or whatever.

The two grouse photographed above had an all out war. They fought on and off for what must have been a couple of minutes. In the photo below, you can see that the grouse on the right has a hunk of feathers from the other bird in his mouth. And the bird in the middle looks like it has additional feathers clinging to its head that were also pulled out. If you every walk a lek, it is very common to find feathers laying on the ground.

The grouse in the foreground is spinning its wheels - and kicking up dust. He must have a powerful engine.

The war continues - despite the fact that there are no females on the lek at this time.

The grouse in the background takes time to scratch its head.

The grouse continue to fight. This could have been a great photo if I could have seen at least one eye on the grouse to the left.

This shows two grouse fighting - and you can see the grouse in the foreground is looking to tear a chunk of feathers out of the other bird's neck.

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