May 1, 2005

I went to the farm today to check the blind - especially with all the windy weather in the past week.

I didn't go out to hike - primarily because of the weather (the temperature was around 39 degrees, there were snow showers, and the wind was brisk out of the northwest). However, I decided that since I was at the farm, that I would hike for a short time. There wasn't much happening on the prairie, except for an active ant pile that I observed and photographed for about 10 minutes - until my fingers got cold.

I also looked for sharptail grouse nests. I looked in all the obvious places, but didn't see any. You would think that with all the sharptail grouse at the nearby lek, that I would find some nests. I'm guessing that in many cases I walked right by nests as they are probably well concealed.


My next stop was to see if I could find prairie smoke wildflowers. I thought - "good luck" - as temperatures in recent weeks have been cold, and not much was growing (or if it was growing, it wasn't growing very fast). However, once I arrived at the scene of where the prairie smoke plants grow year after year, I found them right away. I'm guessing that it doesn't take a lot of warm weather for them to get started.

At the end of my hike, I decided to take the blind down (the wind got the best of it). I then observed the top of the lek. The sharptail grouse had completely worn down almost every stem of grass on the top of the hill (it looked no different than if a group of 50+ people had stood in that area for days).


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