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on Mar 18, 2014 in Wildlife Photography

I Love When They Make Me Wonder Why


When I was out a week ago with the Gtr Sage Grouse (couldn’t get out this AM, wind too big), there was one unique individual. This lone male wanted not only to be on the other side of the road, it wasn’t even on a lek. In fact, he was on this little mound you see here near the Owen’s River (fog in the background) on the edge of a flooded meadow. Prior to sunrise, I saw it take flight far in the background of the main lek on the edge of the sage and fly over to this spot. It got my attention because it flew for a time right at me as if it were going to join me in the cab of my truck!


Why is this so unique? Well, for this individual it might not be. This male might just know something about attracting the females I have no hint of. On the other hand, it might be a whack-a-doodle whose DNA might not go no further. And those questions always entice me because while Mother Nature probably has the answer, we probably never will. To get even a hint to the answer, one would have to mark this individual and then watch it basically 24/7 during the entire lekking season. And even then, the answer would be a sampling of one which in science makes it an oddity as much as anything else. But I live to see these oddities.


Shooting with the D4s, 800f5.6 w/TC.25 resting on the Puffin Pad, I didn’t photograph this lone male until after the other grouse had left the lek. I actually drove up the road 3/4 mile to where I could turn around, came back and parked, reset up and shot. Where all the other grouse had left, this lone male stuck. I really wanted to get back out this morning to see if he was still using this mound, hopefully my next visit I will get a little more of an answer. This is why I love being a wildlife photographer. I love when they make me wonder why!