Blog Archives

The Magic Moment

Dear Friends, this shot is not possible with a cell phone.  This moment took five years of sitting in grouse blinds to even witness not to mention get an image of it. I took a burst of six images in one second and only one of these had this instant recorded.  So I emphasize that this image took preparation, perseverance and photography skills that are not possible with a cell phone.  So if you are serious about photography I recommend that you practice your skills, do the work and prepare to get the image that you envision. We sat in the blind this year on a cold windy rainy day, so this image is from last year when we had one perfect day, til Tomorrow MJ

Another Grouse

3R.Low Rider

Dear Friends, I call this image “Low Rider”, with his tilt and low to the ground dance i think he looks like a motorcycle coming around a corner, this is a male Sharptail Grouse dancing in the spring, soon they will be active again at sunrise on the lek, til Tomorrow MJ

Black and White Grouse

Dear Friends, this dancer is pausing to check out the photographers hiding in the blind clicking away while he and several of his buddies dance for the one female who appeared on the lek.  We counted 28 males and 1 female on this beautiful sunrise morning.  Why the black and white? The white balance at this time of morning is very orange, so am trying the black and white.  Do you like ?  til Tomorrow MJshartail legs bw

Sunrise Dancing

the chase

Dear Friends, our second morning on the Namekagon Barrens Sharptail Grouse Lek was warmer than our first morning, 47 degrees F and lots of sun.  The male birds were dancing furiously and herding the females.  I think the males have a control issue as they need to move the female, but when she stops, all the male birds around the lek, freeze in their dancing position and don’t move a feather until she moves again.  Curious behavior that we had not seen before, but never had six females on the lek before either.  The golden light of dawn makes this a really warm image, but that is the way it is, so enjoy til Tomorrow MJ

Morning in the Blind

grouse talk

Dear Friends, Wednesday was our first morning in the blinds of Namekagon Wildlife Area to watch the Sharp tailed Grouse dancing in the spring mating ritual.  Not our first ever morning in these blinds , but the first this year.  This male is almost in dancing position, but had stopped momentarily to give some verbal commentary.  The morning was lovely but chilly, lots of sun and soon the birds just laid down and soaked up the sunshine, most of the real dancing took place just before dawn before there was enough light to photograph.  Topped the morning off with breakfast with two friends from the cities then out to Crex to spend the rest of the day, perfection. til Tomorrow MJ

The Bog in the Namekagon Wilderness

pan f16 bog name

Dear Friends, this is the black spruce bog in Namekagon Barrens that is now free of snow and the roads are getting in better shape for the upcoming sharp tail grouse dancing season.  Yesterday was a wonderful cool dry blue sky day in the Barrens and i enjoyed my visit.  I searched for agates and found two, one as big as my fist.  I visited the Lek sites and the blinds are now in place. as i sat on the east blind, i saw three wolves hunting in the burned area to the northwest.  This would also be east of the north blind, so be careful out there. soon we will be watching the grouse dance, til Tomorrow MJ

Sharp Tail portraits

two birds grouse

Friends, these male Sharptail Grouse are taking a break from their dancing in the spring.  They came very close to the blind and sometimes i even had to back the zoom off from 400 mm to 300 or even 100mm. What a day, started very foggy but with the sunrise came the color.  til Tomorrow MJ

Grouse Attitude

grouse attitude

Friends, this Sharptail grouse is showing a little belligerent attitude, he is really calling gobble-check, gobble check, gobble check, as he cruises the lek trolling for a female, all puffed up with himself, his feet stutter on the ground as he dances the spring away.  til Tomorrow MJ

Grouse Attack

fighting cocks

Friends, sometimes the dancing of the Sharptail Grouse winds up in a confrontation, these two have come together head to head.  After bluffing by jumpin at each other, one grouse launches into the air and comes down in an attack on the grouse who stays on the ground.  never seen any bloodshed, but they sometimes shake themselves and turn away.  I know it is blurred, but that was done intentionally to show the action, til Tomorrow MJ

Dancing Dancing Dancing

grouse squawk sharptail face

Friends, these birds are male Sharptail Grouse in Namekagon Barrens, thanks to the people who put up the blinds and this year they did a magnificent job.  Some of the birds danced so close to the blind that one was lucky to have a telephoto zoom lens that you could back off to include the bird.  You photographers know what i am talking about, too much glass sometimes.  A great place to start a fledging wildlife photographer.  til Tomorrow MJ

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