April 20, 2007
I did something today that I had never done before at the lek.

I was able to photograph in the evening.

I had some time, so I thought that I would try it. I arrived close to 7:00 p.m., and saw the grouse were active at the lek. I also thought that when I scared them, they would fly away and it would take 30 minutes for them to come back.

I did scare them, and entered my blind, thinking that I would have ample time to get my equipment ready. However, as soon as I sat down, the grouse started coming back; and in decent numbers.

The activity consisted mostly of fighting or standing around as females don't visit a lek in the evening as much (from what I understand). The fighting was excellent. What wasn't, was my photography. It's hard to focus on fast moving action such as this. Thus, you will see a lot of out of focus photographs below - but I included them to show you the type of action that I saw.

One thing that I really like about the photographs is that they are backlit, and you can see all sorts of material in the air that they somehow throw up when they are fighting.

I used my Sigma 135-400, F4.0-5.6 lens which worked until about 30 minutes before sun set. Then I didn't seem to have adequate light.

One thing that is really interesting about a fight is that often, one grouse will end up with a clump of feathers in its beak. They really do go at it.

As an aside, before photographing the grouse, I was about one-half mile away from the lek and photographing the pasque flower. A sharptail grouse flew above me, and floated down to the lek. It was a great sight to observe, and gave me the confidence that the grouse would be at the lek during the evening hours.

Camera used was a Pentax K10D.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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