Sharp-tailed Grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus
Bessey Ranger District, Nebraska National Forest; near Halsey, Nebraska
Wow! I have just had two great mornings, (today and yesterday), photographing Sharp-tailed Grouse in the Bessey Ranger District grassland regions of Nebraska National Forest near Halsey, Nebraska. The lek I visited has a public blind that is great for viewing, but is not suitable for photography. A local friend set up a couple of photography blinds and we were there about an hour before sunrise both days. If you want to photograph the birds at this lek, you will need your own blind. This situation should be corrected next season with a public access blind suitalbe for photography.
About thirty minutes before sunrise the sharp-tails came on the lek. Though it was still dark and the birds could not be seen, you could definitely hear the booming and display calls. Yesterday the birds danced until an hour after sunrise. Today they went for an hour and half after sunrise. There were about twenty males on the lek each day and they danced the
Tomorrow I should be shooting Prairie Chickens, but a rainy morning is predicted. Hopefully the rain and clouds will hold off another day. I will post more about the Sharp-tail Grouse later, with more photos and a video(?). Everyone should see sharp-tails on their lek. It was an amazing show.
Both Images: Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/2500 second @ f/7.1, ISO 1600. Shot from a blind