Saturday, April 23, 2011

Yellow-throated Warbler and Sage Grouse

A rare bird gets me very excited and yesterday a friend called to tell me a Yellow-throated Warbler was at the Ashton Fish Hatchery.  Having never seen one and with only three recorded in Idaho history, I was after it.  But that was not possible until the sun warmed up the 10 degree weather.  So out to watch the Sage Grouse do their dance and breeding.  Here is a series of pictures of their display.

Here one of over 100 males is displaying on a road.  He stands at attentions and takes a deep breath.


Here he raises up taking a deeper breath.


His wings rub on his exposed chest making a squeaking sounds as he continues to suck in air.


Dropping his wings he sucks in more air.  The deepest of all the intakes of air.


Now he starts to full the two large air-sacks on his chest.


The air that has filled his lungs is now transferred to the air sacks.


To completely fill the sacks, he buries his head between the air sacks.  Notice the blood vessels running through the membrane of the air sacks.


He then releases the air and stands at attention to see if any of the ladies were impressed enough to visit him.


This is a dangerous place for these endangered birds to flirt and breed.  It is a good thing that this road is usually only traveled by farmers and bird watchers, or many would be killed.


Here is a poor quality of a lifer for me.  Not good but the best I could do today.


A Yellow-throated warbler to end another exciting day in the wilds of Idaho.

18 comments:

Gaelyn said...

I love to hear the drumming call of the mate searching grouse. They put on quite a show. Congrats on the lifer warbler.

Grayquill said...

Wonderful, Wonderful !!!
Great job!

Mary said...

Excellent series, what fun and glad you got a capture of a life bird in your lens! Happy Easter

Veronica Wald said...

The light is so beautiful in those close-ups, but "the lek in the road" really made me laugh. Good thing there isn't a whole lot of traffic!
The blow-by-blow (as it were) description is great, too, thanks Bill!

Sharon M said...

Nice catch! Funny-looking creature!

Jann E. said...

Fabulous sequence shots of the grouse! I'd love to see one of those...congrats on the warbler lifer!

Lois Evensen said...

Wonderful series!

DaveABirding said...

Congratulations on the lifer, and the great series on the Sage Grouse.

Jo said...

Omw, Bill, that is indeed a wonderful lifer. Congratulations. And thanks for the series of photos which explained the displays.

It's Time to Live said...

Great series of images.

GW Bill Miller said...

Amazing to see a stretch of road covered with the grouse dancing. What a fantastic video clip that would make. Youtube makes it easy.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Incredible. The whole thing -- your lifer, the 10 degree weather, the beautiful pix of the grouse, the fact that they are doin' their thing right out there on the hwy...

Just a wonderful wonderful post Bill.

Allison said...

These are amazing, Bill. I don't believe I've seen birds like this before. Nice road shot!!

Mary said...

Bill, there is an image on my sidebar that seems newer than this one, and yet it won't come up, have tried 2 days~

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie said...

Amazing captures! Love the Yellow throated Warbler pics. I'm a new follower via GFC.

Janie said...

Nice shots of the sage grouse, and a great explanation of exactly what they're doing with those air sacs.
We have a lech near here that we visit every year. They, too, like to hang out in the middle of the road. Luckily, the road isn't busy. Someone puts up a Sage grouse Xing sign every year.

Mary said...

Wondering...can you still view my blog? You and one other have said it is either blocked, or they can no longer access it...how frustrating~