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Friends, tomorrow morning we are going grouse hunting, with our cameras of course, this image was taken last year in the Namekagon Barrens of Northwestern Wisconsin.  He is moving but that is the best i was able to get, but this year is another chance to fix the problems and come up with a winning image, it is spring, time to get to work til Tomorrow MJgrouse jump

Jumping for Joy

grouse jumpFriends, this dancing male sharptail grouse is jumping into the air to celebrate the arrival of spring, the weather is starting to warm up  and thoughts turn to love, in this case grouse love, showing off for the girls, the males dance around the lek and occasionally at the end of the dance, they fly into the air, such a sight,yes the wings are blurred to emphasize the action  we are in the badlands fighting with the wind  til Tomorrow MJ

Weekly Photo Challenge:Patterns

male sharptail11Friends, the feather patterns of the sharp tail grouse are stunning when you can see them up close and personal.  Most are white triangles edged in brown, and serves as great camouflage against the brown brush of spring. If the birds are not dancing and just sitting still, they can be very hard to spot especially in the light before dawn. til Tomorrow MJ

Dancing Grouse

male sharptail3Friends, the sharptail grouse are dancing on the Namekagon Pine Barrens.   This boy is just getting ready to dance, his eyebrows are raised and the feathers are rolled back to expose his purple airsac , in the image below you can see his sharp tail is raised and wings spread just a little.  When he is really dancing, his head will be down and his feet will be stuttering so fast that they blur.  Sat in a blind with my good friend (thanks Anna) on Saturday morning, lots of male dancing and carrying on, then on to Crex to make a 12 hour work day. til Tomorrow MJ

dancing sharpie2



Dancing Sharptails

Sharptail Grouse- male-ready to danceFriends, this time of year, the sharptailed grouse males are dancing on the meadows, in this image he is getting ready to dance, his yellow eyebrows are raised, his purple air sac is exposed, his tail is raised and his wings have dropped down, in the image below is his dancing pose, His feet do a fast stutter step as he whirls in circles and chases any other male birds.  The females sit by silently watching, and after selecting the winner, they both fly away.  This ritual happens at dawn, so one has to be in a blind before dawn.  Finding a strange blind in the dark can be quite an adventure.  so enjoy my sharpies in the warmth of indoors, til Tomorrow MJ

Dancing Sharptail Grouse- male-3


Too Much Detail

grouse treeFriends, this image of a ruffed grouse in a birch tree illustrates a common problem when photographing birds in their environment, too much detail around the bird.  However, the eye was sharp and had a highlight and the light had a reasonable angle so I decided to show it to you today.  After risking our lives by stopping on a blacktop road and scurrying around on the shoulders, I thought maybe the image had some merit.  The grouse love the birch buds this time of year (winter) and are often perched among the branches eating their fill.  til Tomorrow MJ


Weekly Photo Challenge:Changing Seasons

ruffed grouseFriends, As the seasons change, more birds become visible   After the leaves are gone, these Ruffed Grouse blend into their brown surroundings but are more visible cause they seek out the fall berries on leafless bushes.  On my way home from Crex I saw some Ruffed Grouse foraging along the roadside.  When i pulled over and jumped out of my vehicle, they quickly hid in the brush.  I followed for awhile and this one jumped up in a bush and was busy plucking some small berries for his supper.  I got within ten feet of him and shot this image.  When he realized that i might be a threat, his feathered crest raised and that is why he is called a Ruffed Grouse.  This was a difficult image to obtain because of all the little brushy branches that insisted on getting into the picture, blocking various parts of the bird.  I worked at it for about 30 minutes, then my hands were too cold to go on.  til Tomorrow MJ

Grouse in the Grasses

Friends, today we return to color and the wild birds.  This is a grouse from the badlands of North Dakota, taken in late summer or early fall. Not sure if it is a sharp-tail grouse or a sage grouse( or other?).  I am not a very good birder so I don’t know all the differences between the species. But these birds come to the road in the early morning light to get their gravel and pose for pictures :).  I didn’t crop this image closely because i wanted to show the relationship between the grouse and her grassy environment.  What do you think? til Tomorrow MJ

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