Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Grouse Trip Cont: Elkhart, Kansas to Gunnison, Colorado

April 14, 2013

Rebecca Kosten (transcribed telephone message):

Our birding day started at the eastern Elkhart, Kansas Lesser Prairie-Chicken Lek.  Just before sunrise, one Lesser Prairie-Chicken came to the lek.  He danced around for about five minutes and then departed.

More than half a dozen Lesser Prairie-Chickens could be heard to the North.  My belief is that the traditional eastern lek has become a satellite lek and the new lek is located somewhere to the north (where we have no access).  When the younger Lesser Prairie-Chickens get tired of "losing out" on the new lek, they visit the old lek (eastern traditional lek).  In four trips, we have only observed 2-4 Lesser Prairie-Chickens on the old eastern lek.

We worked our way to Gunnison (Gunnison County) by way of Baca County Roads M and 10.  Three Burrowing Owl (prairie dog) villages were along CR M and another three along CR 10.  No Mountain Plovers could be found.

We made a stop at the Bent County Road JJ cattail marsh.  No Black Rails responded to our recordings.  One Sora and five or six Virginia Rails did call back.  One Virginia Rail provided us with good looks.

When we reached Gunnison we passed by the Waunita Hot Springs Lek (Gunnison).  I believe that if the Gunnison Sage-Grouse come to the Lek, it is only after dark when they cannot be seen. 

In five attempts, only once did we see a Gunnison Sage-Grouse (and only one).  It was only identified as a Gunnison Sage-Grouse because it moved around the "other dark bushes".

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