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on Jun 18, 2008 in Wildlife Photography

They trying to kill me?

I know it’s good for me (and that knowledge makes me feel so much better) and lord knows I need it, but this getting up at 03:30 to literally climb to the top of a mountain, chasing these “kids” just could be the death of me yet.

We reached the top just as the sun kissed our feet. In the far distance you can see the Sweetwater Mtns that top out at 11,672 and below you can see the road we came in on. This is all part of the continuing project I’m documenting on Greater Sage Grouse I talked about last week on Scott’s blog. (The wildfires gave the distant sky a weird color this morning.)

This morning was a success with four, four day old GSG chicks briefly caught, tagged and then released. It was a bad week this past week with 7 broods lost to predation. The first six months of life are pretty darn hard for these birds. Off in the background are the Sierra Peaks and Sonora Pass. (Notice how steep the hillside is, I want you to feel sorry for me, sort of.)

And the object of the quest, the cutiest little things you’ve ever seen! This is a four day old GSG chick and since it hatched it has traveled by foot nearly a mile to where they were caught them this morning. With legs shorter then Q-Tips, that’s just a huge distance to travel in such a short time. I really don’t have anything to complain about, climbing this hill, at least I have long legs!

Photos captured by D3, 70-300VR, 14-24AFS, 105VR on Lexar UDMA digital film