March 26, 2005

I arrived at the lek at about 5:35 a.m. There was a lot of light in the eastern sky. The temperature was 26 degrees with no wind - rather pleasant. The skies were clear, and the moon was bright in the western sky. I waited patiently for the sharptail grouse to show, but heard nothing. Then, about 5:55 a.m., I heard what sounded like a vehicle in the distance - and getting louder by the moment. I soon realized that it was about 20 sharptail grouse landing on the lek.

Some of the grouse - before sunrise - came very close to the lek - within a couple of feet. At one point, I accidentally dropped one of my gloves, and the birds scattered - but they were back in 10 seconds so as to not miss the possibility of any females entering the lek.

While waiting for sunrise, I heard coyotes, turkeys and pheasants in the distance. During that time, the wind came up all of a sudden from the southwest.

Sunrise was at 6:35 a.m., and there was a lot of activity around that time. I believe that at least one female showed up. In the next three weeks, though, more will show up, increasing activity at the lek. At one point, a pheasant wandered through on the north side of the lek. It didn't seem to startle the sharptail grouse.

I also saw and heard hundreds, if not thousands of Canadian geese fly by, starting about 7:25 a.m. (about the time my fingers started to get really cold due to the wind). About 8:15 a.m., I decided to leave - and as I zipped the windows and door on the blind, the sharptail grouse flew off. I was no more than 50 yards from the blind - and down the hill and out of sight - when I stopped and listened and heard the sharptail grouse. They were already back at the lek.

The temperature had increased to about 32 degrees by 8:30 a.m..

During the morning, I counted the sharptail grouse several times. Most of the time, there were between 20 and 25 grouse, but at one time, I counted 33. There may have been more as it's hard to see the entire hill from the blind.

After my venture, I stopped at another lek on the farm. As I approached the lek, about 15 sharptail grouse flew off. I drove over and set up a blind near that lek, and will let the sharptail grouse get used to it before I take pictures at that location.

Looks like the males can't get along (+ in photo below).

 

"Hey, how can we capture the attention of the females
when there's a cool looking bird like that out here?"

 

A pheasant walks by the lek. It walked very fast and
didn't feel comfortable until it was in tall grass.

 

 

 

This photo, and the next three show a female - with the males trying to capture her attention.

 

 

 

Six bored males.

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