Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gunnison Sage Grouse

The alarm went off at 4:45am.  Those lekking chickens require you to be in place well before sunrise, hence the early start.  We drove to the lek where all but one of the parking slots were full and we took that one.  One more vehicle came and squeezed into half a space.  We were required to stay in our cars and be quiet.  It was a long wait before we could see anything.  But then at quite a distance were a bunch of male Gunnison Sage Grouse inflating their breast pouches and strutting around throwing their famous pompadour over their backs in the process.  In the area were females who all looked like they could care less.  This process went on for about two hours.  At its peak I counted 19 males and 14 females.  As the females drifted or flew away the male activity declined and one by one each of them flew off.  However, there was one female who hung around and kept a male doing his thing for at least a half-hour longer than the others.  When she left, it was over. 
We drove back to the motel, had breakfast, packed up and headed for Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.  There we searched for Dusky Grouse without success.  It got very cold, snowed a bit, and then the wind came up.  But we did find a Townsend's Solitaire which was a new bird for the year.  We drove to Montrose and had lunch.  The less said about lunch, the better.  After lunch, since I had never seen Ouray, we spent the afternoon driving there and up to Red Mountain Pass at 11,018 feet.  Nothing new except the sightseeing.  Snowy mountains all around.  Beautiful.  We did see one large flock of Vesper Sparrows indicating they are definitely on the move.
Back to Montrose where we got a motel, cleaned up, went to a Nepalese/Indian restaurant which was satifactory.  With the two new birds today the total is now 444.

1 comment:

  1. That is too incredibly cool!!! You are getting my vacations lined up for me for the next several years you know! :-)