Saturday morning we got up really early (okay, not that early) to drive out to a sage grouse breeding area to watch the male grouse strut their stuff. At sunrise, the males gather in one area, called a lek, and display their mating prowess to one another (not sure why it's effective for them to show off for one another. Shouldn't they be impressing the ladies?). The lek is about 30 miles south of Pinedale in remote sage land with views of the southern Winds.
The lek is about 400 yards off the road--see it?? It's the large open area in the distance. And the dark specs in the open are the birds.
Here's a closer look:
That's about as well as we could see them, even with the binocs.
Although we couldn't get a super close-up view, we could see them strutting and pulsing their chests, and that was pretty cool. I think the whole thing was lost on Isaac, though. All the way there, he was excitedly anticipating seeing the "Beep Beeps!" (apparently, birds and trucks sound alike). Once at the site, he lost interest pretty quickly. I'm sure he wasn't impressed that Mom and Dad didn't come through with the beep beeps.
We managed to convince our friend, Ann, to get up at 5am and come with us. She's a wildlife nerd, so we didn't have to try that hard.
The sunrise over the mountains may have been the best part.
By the way, if you are not familiar with the sage grouse's display, google it. It is impressive. I'm glad I've seen photos so that I know what I was seeing was cool.