Thursday, May 14, 2015

May 10, 2015

May 10th was our final day counting grouse at the Waunita Lek for 2015. Thank you all visitors for coming out to view the birds and following protocols. We'll see you next year! 

High Male Count: 12

High Female Count: 3

High Unknown Count: 4

Yellow Rumped Warbler spotted amongst willows.

Northern Harrier and Red-tail Hawk in Main Lek.

3 Coyotes on East Ridge. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

May 9, 2015 

High Male Count: 16

High Female Count: 0

High Unknown Count: 1

Northern Harrier on fence post 75 yards from viewing trailer.

Coyote in North Meadow.

Gunnison Prairie in front of viewing trailer.

Green-tailed Towhees chasing and singing.  

Friday, May 8, 2015

May 8, 2015

High Male Count: 24

High Female Count: 1

High Unknown Count: 16

Highly active morning! Although we are approaching the end of the season, there is still a lot of grouse activity.

Intense wing fights on East Ridge and continued displaying.

5 coyotes spotted in North Meadow. Several were playfully chasing each other!

Rough-legged hawk on fence post North Meadow.

Willows leafing out.

Western Kingbirds spotted south of lek.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

May 7, 2015

High Male Count: 10

High Female Count: 0

High Unknown Count: 0

Most birds in North Meadow.

Coyote spotted in North Meadow.

Spring Peeper Activity!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May 6, 2015

High Male Count: 3

High Female Count: 0

High Unknown Count: 1

Coyote spotted north of Main Lek

Males were not displaying

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May 5, 2015

High Male Count: 14

High Female Count:

High Unknown Count: 1
Overcast and rainy. Less vigorous male displays, with most birds observed walking, eating or standing and watching.

Increased insect activity and amphibian calling from near by stream.

Monday, May 4, 2015

May 4, 2015

High Male: 15

High Female: 0

High Unknown: 0

Full Gibbous Moon

Mink spotted stalking near creek in front of trailer.

May 3, 2015

High Male: 15

High Female: 4

High Unknown: 0

Group of White-Crowned Sparrows spotted in front of trailer.

Rough-legged hawk in North Meadow

4 females circled 3 males heavily displaying. Females left unimpressed, no copulations witnessed.

May 2, 2015

High Male: 18

High Female: 0

High Unknown: 2

Horses and several donkeys in Main Lek.

Friday, May 1, 2015

May 1, 2015

High Male Count: 17

High Female Count: 0

High Unknown Count: 2
Happy May Day!

April 30, 2015

High Male Count: 11

High Female Count: 0

High Unknown Count: 0

All grouse on East Ridge

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April 29, 2015

High Male Count: 22

High Female Count: 1

High Unknown Count: 1

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 28, 2015

High Male Count: 26

High Female Count: 2

High Unknown Count: 0

Antelope 50 yards from viewing trailer. 
April 27, 2015

High Male Count: 10

High Female Count: 1

High Unknown Count: 0

April 26, 2015

High Male Count: 25

High Female Count: 1

High Unknown Count: 2

High counts were recorded after 7:00 am.

April 25, 2015

High Male Count: 12

High Female Count: 1

High Unknown Count: 0

Low visibility. Antelope grazing amongst grouse displaying.

April 24, 2015

High Male Count: 8

High Female Count: 2

High Unknown Count: 5

Coyote spotted in Main Lek
April 23, 2015

High Male Count: 7

High Female Count: 1

High Unknown Count: 8

April 22, 2015

High Male Count: 20

High Female Count: 0

High Unknown Count: 0

Multiple coyotes observed in North Meadow. Very active early morning.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 21, 2015

High Male: 28

High Female: 1

High Unknown: 1

White Elk on ridge North of East Ridge, amongst a large herd of Elk!

Golden Eagle flying over area.

Coyotes spotted close to North edge of Main Lek.

April 20, 2015

High Male: 13

High Female: 2

High Unknown: 2
April 19, 2015

High Male: 17

High Female: 0

High Unknown: 5

April 18, 2015

High Male: 18

High Female: 1

Snowy weather, poor visibility.

Coyotes on East ridge

April 17, 2015

No grouse count today due to snowy weather and poor visibility.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

April 16, 2015

High Male Count: 7

High Female Count: 0
High Unknown Count: 6

Steady snow fall. Lower grouse counts today.

April 15, 2014

High Male Count: 18

High Female Count: 0
High Unknown Count: 2

Snow flurries, varied wind gust.

On going wing fights in North Meadow and intense displaying.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 14, 2015

High Male Count: 21

High Female Count: 2

Several Pronghorn on East Ridge.

More Wilson's Snipe displaying.

Monday, April 13, 2015

April 13, 2015

High Male Count: 22

High Female Count: 2

Swainson's hawk was spotted mobbing a Golden Eagle.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

April 12, 2015

High Male Count: 23

High Female Count: 1

Wilson's Snipe making winnowing sound during mating display.

A group of 18 grouse could be seen in one field of view on East Ridge.

Great Horned Owl hooting in area.

Mountain Bluebird landed on trailer window ledge, inches away from viewers!

April 11, 2015

High Male Count: 21

High Female Count: 0

Grouse in North Meadow and East Ridge

Sage Thrasher singing from West.

Coyotes howling.

Friday, April 10, 2015

April 10, 2015

High Male Count: 21

High Female Count: 1

Most birds on East Ridge. Raven and 5 males in North Meadow.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

April 9, 2015

High Count Males: 6

High Count Females: 1

All birds on East Ridge.

Lots of coyote activity in North West Meadow.
Rough-legged hawk in North Meadow.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April 8, 2015

High male Count: 21

High female Count: 0

4 grouse were spotted early, 5:45, on Northern edge of Main Lek.

At 6:20 birds displayed on East Ridge on and off till 7:20.

North Meadow showed grouse from 6:40 till 7:09 when 5 flushed and 3 remained hidden not displaying in and out of sagebrush. At 7:00 a group of ravens flew in and seemed to make grouse uneasy with displays ending and birds dispersing.

Elk, rough legged hawk, and ravens all spotted in and north of North Meadow.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April 7, 2015

High Male Counts: 20

High Female Counts: 1

11 males in North Meadow. Coyote spotted at 6:50 am in North Meadow with no response from grouse. Raven spotted at 7:20.

9 Males on East Ridge. One bird flushed to west at 7:24 am.

Monday, April 6, 2015

April 6 2015

High Male Count: 22

High Female Count: 2

Coyotes spotted in North Meadow and East Ridge.

6 birds in North Meadow flushed at 6:30 with 6 remaining males.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

High Male Count: 15

High Female Count: 1

Males displayed along East Ridge. A coyote ran across North Side of East ridge.
Golden Eagle sat completely still just yards below displaying males! By 7:30 males on ridge disappeared to east.

North Meadow was quiet except for a rough-legged  hawk watching area.

One lone female was in Main Lek then flushed for unknown reasons to south North Meadow where almost immediately three males flew in and then all flushed to West for unknown reasons.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Saturday, April 4, 2015

High Grouse Count: 20

Lunar Eclipse and Full Moon

Rough Legged Hawk and Coyote spotted in North Meadow.

Friday, April 3, 2015

High Grouse Count: 21

High Female Count: 1

Red-tail Hawk on H-post in Main Lek at 7:30 am.

Gunnison Sage-grouse Viewing Update

Gunnison Sage-grouse Viewing Update
Greeting to all from Gunnison, Colorado.  The Gunnison Sage-grouse viewing season started on April 1, 2015.  As many of you know, the grouse have made an interesting shift in their distribution.  It is rare for a bird with high site fidelity to move and likely this behavior is related to the cumulative impacts of disturbance in the vicinity of the lek.  Last year, the birds started moving off the traditional lek and this year they have so far completely abandoned the traditional site.  While we have tried to create a viewing opportunity that reduces the impacts of viewing on the grouse, it is likely that the presence of birders over the last 15 years has contributed to the behavior of the grouse.  Nonetheless, the grouse are still visible from the viewing site, although much farther away than we have had the luxury of viewing them in the past.  The grouse have moved north in the meadow, in an area where the willows are denser so viewing obstruction is significant.  They have also moved to the east and up on top of the sagebrush ridge.  While the birds may be 1 km or more away from the viewing site, it is still possible to see them fairly well with a spotting scope.  They are often well lit on exposed sites. 
Sisk-a-dee and its partners are concerned that birders begin to deviate from the viewing protocols established to protect the Gunnison Sage-grouse.  Many conservation groups including birding organizations supported the recent listing of the Gunnison Sage-grouse as a Threatened Species.  I am encouraging all of you to conduct Gunnison Sage-grouse viewing with the utmost integrity of ethics.  Please see the website for specific details on viewing protocols.  We urge all visitors to view the grouse from the Waunita Watchable Wildlife site and not to drive further up the road to get a closer view.  Currently there are approximately 5,000 Gunnison Sage-grouse in existence world-wide with 87% in the Gunnison Basin.  The loss of one lek is a substantial blow.  One lek was already depleted due to lek viewing activities.  If the Waunita lek continues to fade and the birds move further away from their traditional lek, it is very unlikely that another watchable wildlife site will be established. The birding community advocates for grouse protection and all are ambassadors for the Gunnison Sage-grouse.  If birders drive up the road, recognize that they may be subject to a wildlife harassment violation if their actions cause the grouse to flush from the lek.  Volunteers continue to monitor the site daily and will be available to help all visitors locate the grouse in their new locations.
Monitors viewed 29 Gunnison Sage-grouse at the new locations on Wednesday April 1 and 20 birds on Saturday April 4.  Thank you for your consideration of our 15 year effort to protect one of North America's rarest birds.
Please feel free to contact Sisk-a-dee at 970-641-3959 if you would like to discuss the issue or have questions about your visit.  As in the past, a viewing trailer is available for reservation or you can view the lek from your vehicle 7 days a week starting at least one hour before sunrise from 1 April to 15 May.  Please keep in mind that the viewing site opens on April 1.
Negotiations are underway to determine the future of the Waunita Watchable Wildlife Site, which is managed in cooperation by Sisk-a-dee, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the Gunnison Basin Sage-grouse Strategic Committee.  Depending on this year's grouse counts, site operation may change in the future including complete closure, partial closure (viewing available on certain days each week), or continue the status quo.  Further, speed limit reductions and no parking regulations are being considered.
Patrick Magee!
Sisk-a-dee, Director


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hello all! We begin the 2015 Waunita Watchable Wildlife Program!
April 1, 2015
High Male Count: 22
High Female Count: 0
Male displays all across East Ridge.
Birds at North Meadow flushed after two vehicles drove by.
April 2, 2015
High Male Count: 7
High Female count: 0
Birds were in and out of brush cover on the North Meadow.
4 unknown birds flushed from North Meadow to far northeast ridge and disappeared in sagebrush, 6 birds still remained in north meadow.
East Ridge was quiet with two males to the north end of ridge, in and out of sagebrush