Monday I got up early, picked up a photographer friend of mine and headed off to my favorite lek. A lek is an elevated patch of native grasslands about the size of a baseball diamond.
It is used by sharp-tailed grouse in the spring during their courtship rituals. The elevation enables them to spot predators at a distance.
The males gather as a group and show off for the females. They point their tails straight up, spread their wings, hold their heads low and stamp their feet while dancing around in circles.
They kind of look like an airplane about to take off. Their sounds are just as enjoyable as their dance moves.
The ones that dance the longest and strongest seem to get the females.
I have photographed sharp-tailed grouse for several years and never tire of watching them dance.
We didn’t see any predators but a group of five ravens dropped in on the grouse and made them scatter in all directions. After the ravens flew off the grouse were back in minutes.
Bald Eagle Nest 001
On our way home we checked a bald eagle’s nest that we photographed last year.
Bald Eagle Nest 002
The pair had returned and appeared to be already sitting on eggs.