Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I Got Up at 3AM, and Then This Happened

Don't you hate click bait titles like that?  Yet I couldn't resist. 

I've already lied.  I got up at 3:15 am.  And then I dressed in as many layers as I own (I had two upper long johns, or, maybe more accurately, technical base layers).  And then I drove out to the middle of nowhere, not far from my motel in a little town.  The stars were amazing.

There, I met up with a guide and a couple of other people, and the guide led us (in our cars) to a side road, and we all got out.  The guide gave us a short orientation, that basics of which had to do with keeping quiet and not opening certain windows.

And then she led us half way down a trail, and wished us a good morning.

The four of us walked out to a plywood structure, yes, a bird blind, and we got into the two areas of it, got settled and waited.  We got there about 4:45.

At about 5:35, once we'd had a chance to chill (literally), light started showing.  And then at 5:49 (by my watch), a male Prairie Chicken started strutting his stuff in front of the blind, a ways away, but clear in binoculars.  Then a female showed, looking at him from a ways away to our left.  That was at 5:59 (by my watch).  Then another female showed, this time closer to him on our right.  The first female moved a bit closer, all the while he was doing his male Prairie Chicken thing, which was beautiful in the early soft light.  Then another female showed up.

The three females roamed close to him, and he strutted his stuff.

(Meanwhile, my camera seems to have died after a few very blurry pictures.  So I just watched with binoculars and eyes.)

We also saw a Short-eared owl fly by, and a Northern Harrier.

And then at about 7:15 or so, one of the females took off.  A moment or two later, the other two females took off.

The male looked around for a moment, and then he, too, took off.

And that was our morning. 

We waited a few minutes, then crept out of the blinds and chatted, still quietly, in the early light.  We walked together back to our cars, turned the observation sheets in to the can thing, and then went our separate ways.

I went back to the motel, took off some of my layers, and had breakfast, and then drove, singing loudly (and badly) songs from my violin practice to stay awake.

All in all, a pretty amazingly good day! 

(Note: I don't teach on Tuesdays, and did a load of work this weekend so that I could not work most of today.  But I still made it back in time to go to a colleague's very good talk.)

Alas, none of my pictures came out, and I'm not sure what's up with my camera.  But here's a link that's probably way better than any picture I could take, so you know what I went to see.  Cornell University About Birds Page.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like a very fun adventure! (Well, except for the cold.)