Friday, March 29, 2013

Sage Grouse Failure

This time of year I always go try and grab some shots of the Sage Grouse as they prance and strut, trying to attract a mate. It is about a 45-50 minute drive so if it is a bust, it can be a big one.  It started on a good note.  I was about five minutes from the lek when I saw the moon setting.  If you read my blog often, you know I am a big fan of moon rise and moon set.
When I got up the to the top of the hill, I realized immediately that I wasn't going to have a big grouse day.  There were five cars there, which wouldn't be a problem, but three of the people were outside their cars with cameras on tripods.  This scares the birds.  The people think they are getting great shots with the birds about 50 yards away.  If they would simply stay in the car and shoot out the windows, they would have grouse within 20 or 30 feet.

So all of these shots were from a long ways off. Big lens and a fair amount of cropping.
The birds are fun to watch, even if I couldn't get good shots.
I liked the background for these three males.  The females are actually there as well, but they are smaller and blend right into the surrounding grass.
Every once in a while two males will scrap about who gets to strut where.  Eventually the loser runs, or in this case, flies off.
I gave up on my grouse and drove down the road to the Echo Reservoir. The winds were calm so you see some nice reflections.
You can tell how low the water is in the reservoirs.  It is normally down in the winter, but not this low.  The bad part is seeing how low it is combined with how little snow is left on the mountains.  It's going to be another wildfire summer with a lot of watering restrictions.
And one last parting shot.
I may try to get back to the grouse one more time this spring.  I am hoping that once the Easter vacation week is over, there won't be so many other photographers at the lek.


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