|Greater Sage-Grouse at the lek near Walden, Colorado|
We learned of what sounded like a very good Greater Sage-Grouse lek near Walden, Colorado from another birder/photographer friend (thanks Lyn!), so we decided to check it out.
We visited the lek site once in the evening and then on two very early mornings (arriving before first light and using our car as a blind). The grouse put on an excellent show! We saw as many as 47 total birds at once, with 3 or 4 females.
You can click on any picture to see a larger version.
|Males trying to impress a female (right)|
|Male Greater Sage-Grouse showing off his air sacs|
The male Great Sage-Grouse mating displays are very dramatic! Lots of strutting around, chasing away less dominant competitors, displaying their elegant tail feathers, puffing up their chests, and then inflating and noisily bouncing their fancy air sacs.
We also did some other birding in the Walden area at the Moose Visitor Center, Hebron Waterfowl Area, Arapaho NWR, and Walden Reservoir. We had a very productive few days!
We had a exceptionally good encounter with Peregrine Falcons (new on our life list) on the road to Delaney Butte. We watched them fly and hunt, interact, and even pose for us on a fence post as Susan shot from the car.
|Juvenile Peregrine Falcon posing for Susan|
|Here's looking at YOU! (glad I'm not the prey)|
|Peregrine Falcon in flight|
We also spent two very comfortable and affordable nights at the Antlers Inn in Walden. The food at the River Rock Cafe was excellent, too!
|Upstairs parlor at the Antlers Inn in Walden|
This was a great little trip and we'll be going back for more birding and maybe moose adventures this summer.
I'll end this post with a really fun picture Susan took of a sage-grouse in flight. It was a quick snapshot that turned into a very cool abstract!