Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sage Grouse on their Leks

The sage grouse are lekking again and with the area between Highway 33 and the Egin/Hamer road open for travel, I have been able to observe this magnificent bird in action again.  But their population continues to decline.  I am working with the Idaho Fish and Game to try to locate new leks or traditional leks that might be used by birds.  I have found a few leks with a few birds, but the large leks with over 50 to 100 birds on them now have from 20 to 0 birds on them.  Here are a few of the show-off birds from this last week.

Last weekend we had a great snow storm and with one day left of spring break, I started searching for birds on leks.  On a lek that had 40 birds on it last year, I found only 23.  This handsome dude attempted to attract one of the three females.

He even battled other male to take control of the center of the lek where the females look for the king of the lek.

Soon a female showed up, but with the snow and cold, was not ready to start her family this year.  She showed up, but did not get too close to the ruler.

The battle bruises can be seen on the air sacks of this warrior that I found yesterday as he tries to attract a female.  

This gentleman has beautiful large combs above his eyes as he sits on top of a ridge with eight other males but no females are visiting them.

I saw a lot of different birds, elk, deer, coyote and even a mouse while spending a wonderful wild day in the wilds of Idaho

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring snow storm

Sunday morning it started snowing and snowing hard.  The flakes were so big our cat, Flurry, was chasing them, but there were so many he finally just watched them fall.  So before church, I decided to see how the birds were reacting to the heavy snow.

The bald eagles were still courting - the wet snow could not dampen their desire to pro-create.

The newly arrived female Burrowing owl looked mad about being caught in the snow while Mr. continued to clean out their chosen burrow.

A pheasant cock with his tail covered with wet snow runs from me to some cover - or maybe to visit a setting hen.

This robin in my backyard is fluffing up trying to stay warm by shaking the snow off its back while the trees are covered.

Sandhill cranes continued to look for food in the marshes - who knows some dumb rodent may scurry past and become lunch for today.

Not only a wild day in Idaho, but an answer to prayers for more moisture.  Shake off the crap of life and have a bless'ed day.