Posted by: atowhee | April 15, 2012

START GROUSING, RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW

It’s not even dawn yet. The temperature is below freezing. The thin air at Malheur cuts like sharo knife. The coffee isn’t quite hot enough to cut the shivers. You drive down the empty highway, your headlights showing only the stunted forms of sagebrush and an occasional road sign. After mnore than ten miles you see a dented, rusty sign for “Foster Flat Road.” You turn onto it. Foster Flat isn’t really a road but two parallel ruts winding through the brush then climbing up rocky slopes, then winding through wild horse country. Each rut hjas its own attitude toward elevation change and direction. Sometimes the ruts merge toward center or verge further apart. Some low spots are small lakes, or the slurry from which good adobe is made. More than seven miles from the paved highway you pull off and park. A couple other vehicles are alreay there. Headlights are off. Car radios are turned off. Nobody gets out of the car. You wait. As faint, wan dawnlight makes its way to the top of the slope you first see the male Sage Grouse, already on the lek. You forget the early hours, the cold, the missed breakfast, your stomach consuming its own lining. This is what birding is all about. You watch as the males compete and perform, the champions centered on the lek ground. The cautious females out in the brush, somehow trying to sneak way into the center where the alphas puff and strut and rule. These photos by Peter Thiermann shows you this spectacle and miracle as Sage Grouse do their annual spring mating ritual in the sagebrush.


Responses

  1. […] HERE IS THAT NEXT BLOG, SO CLICK ON THIS LINK FOR SOME SERIOUS GROUSING. […]


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