Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Good afternoon!

We had a successful last open day for the season today! It was warm with a temperature of 41°F, and cloudy skies. 13 birds were seen in the North Meadow, chasing, fighting, and displaying. 2 more birds were seen on top of the East Ridge, for a total of 15 birds for our last viewing day!

The 8th, 9th, and 10th will all be closed days.

Thank you all for a great season with lots of Gunnison sage grouse! We look forward to seeing you all next year!

Happy birding!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Good morning!

Over the weekend we had some typical days on the lek. About 2-3 males were seen on the East Ridge both mornings, and the temperatures were still pretty cold at about 28°F.

This morning was 33°F with a slight breeze and very little cloud cover. The ground was damp, and the meadow and traditional lek continue to be flooded from spring runoff and other precipitation. Birds in the North Meadow flushed at about 6:30, and the grouse on the ridge were visible for about 15 minutes before they stepped over to the other side. No birds were seen after 7:00am. A total of 7 males, 1 female, and 1 unknown were seen.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, 5/7) is the last open day for the season. May 8, 9, and 10th will be closed days.

Hope to see everyone out there tomorrow morning!

Happy birding!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Good afternoon!

We have been having much better weather in Gunnison the past few days! The mornings are still pretty cold (around 27°F), but the days have been clear and warm with a little breeze!

For the past two closed days, three birds were seen today, and none were seen the day before. We are at a farther distance, and visibility is hard where we are parked on closing days, so don't let that worry you! There are still birds on the lek, and you still have a great chance of seeing them!

Only 13 more days for the Waunita watchable wildlife site to be open, so be sure to plan your trips and get out to see these incredible birds!

Happy birding!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Good afternoon!

This morning we had a snow storm on the lek! Visibility was very low with gusty winds, and no birds were seen. Hopefully we get some better weather soon!

Tomorrow and Friday are closed days. Hopefully this will give the chance for the grouse to warm up a little, and get back to their usual activities!

See you on Saturday!

Happy birding!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Good morning!

Saturday 4/27
Early in the morning, around 6:15 am, three Golden eagles were seen flying over the North Meadow and the East Ridge. 10 unknown birds were flushed from the top of the East Ridge and flew south and over the ridge when the eagles flew over. The Golden eagles stayed sitting on the ridge for the rest of the morning. 2 males were seen on top of the ridge later in the morning. 1 male and 1 female were seen in the North Meadow but not seen again after early morning.
14 birds total, 3 males, 1 female, 10 unknown

Sunday 4/28
The weather was cloudy and there was a light drizzle throughout the morning. Our volunteers saw 4 males throughout the morning.

Monday 4/29
This morning was overcast and a temperature of 36°F. At 6:08 am, a coyote was seen in the North Meadow, heading into the thick row of willows. One minute later, 11 birds were flushed (I'm guessing from the coyote!) and flew to the west. 4 males were identified, but the rest were unknown. After this, there were no more birds viewed in the North Meadow for the rest of the morning. At 7:00 am, 1 male was seen on the top of the East Ridge, and about 30 minutes later, a total of 3 males were seen on top of the ridge. We saw a total of 14 birds this morning...much better than the last few days!

It is getting later in the season, and we are seeing fewer females. Once they have bred, they move to their breeding site, and stay there throughout the rest of the summer. The males will stick around the lek for a longer period of time, in case any females show up later in the season, which is why we are seeing more males than females.

Many elk have been seen on the East Ridge and North Meadow. They don't seem to bother the grouse, and are fun to watch!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Good afternoon!

Even though its windy, rainy, and cold now, we had a beautiful morning this morning! There were mostly clear skies, no wind and it was 27°F at the lek site.

We saw 11 Gunnison sage grouse this morning. 7 males in the North Meadow, and 4 males on the East Ridge. The birds in the meadow have left by 6:30 this morning, and yesterday morning, and I am not quite sure why that is. There could be a predator that we are not seeing, or the weather could be affecting them. Not really sure why, but all I know is, they are leaving pretty early from the North Meadow. The birds on the ridge, however, can still be seen all morning long!

This storm is supposed to clear up late tonight, so hopefully in the morning we have nice weather!

Happy birding!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Hello everyone!

We had a great morning this morning! I believe it was our first morning with temperatures above 30°F! (Temp was 31°F!) We had clear skies, and no wind! Spring is here! There is no more snow left on the site, which is making it tricky to find the birds! Make sure you are watching for movement, and the males white chest!

This morning we saw 11 birds; 6 males in the North Meadow, and 5 males on the East Ridge. All of the birds in the North Meadow seemed to have flushed by about 6:30am. There was nothing seen as to why this was, but my guess is a predator that we just didn't see...but who knows! The birds on the ridge could be seen popping back and forth over the top all morning, and looked beautiful being back-lit by the sunlight!

See you all tomorrow and happy birding!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Good afternoon birders!

Saturday was a closed day at the lek! We do this to give the birds a break from some of our noise!

Sunday morning we saw about 8 birds during the early morning. By 7:30am, the wind started blowing, and it started snowing! This made the birds hunker down, and they were not visible after 7:40am.

Monday was a great day, with a temperature of about 28°F, and 8 birds were seen!

Today we had another closed day, as we will tomorrow as well. We appreciate your understanding and willingness to work with us for our two closed days per week, and look forward to seeing you the other five days!

Happy birding!

Friday, April 19, 2019

On our closed day this morning, we had beautifully clear skies, a temperature of 28°F, and no wind!
From a far distance, a total of three birds were seen. During closed day, a volunteer parks at the top of the county road, and observes the lek as best they can and records anything they can see. We have two closed days a week, in hopes to reduce our noises and other disturbances.

We have one more closed day tomorrow, and will be back out bright and early Sunday morning!

See you all then, and happy birding!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Hello everyone!
We had a decent morning this morning with a temperature of 28°  and clear skies. It is starting to get windy here in the Gunnison basin! We saw a total of 14 birds; 11 males and 3 females. There was a hawk near by, and the birds seemed to flush shortly after it was seen.

Please remember that we are lucky to get to see these birds at all, even though they are a little father away. It is a privilege that we have a site that is accessible, and lets us be able to view these wonderful birds. To keep being able to do this, we have to minimize our disturbances, especially noise levels! One day we want to see the birds back on the main lek, and the only way to do that is by reducing our disturbance on the birds.

Tomorrow (Friday), and Saturday are both closed days. See you bright and early Sunday morning!

Happy birding!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Good afternoon!

This morning was a chilly 24°F with partly overcast skies. We are nearing the full moon, so things are bright! Sometimes this can cause the birds to display throughout the night, and by the time we get to the site, they are too tired to continue on, and we may end up missing them. We haven't seen this yet this season, but it is something to think about if you are planning a trip out!

This morning we saw 8 birds in the North Meadow, and by 7:00 am, most of them were gone, probably over to the East Ridge. After 7:00 am, we saw 13 males, 8 females, and 5 unknown birds on the top of the East Ridge. All 13 males were displaying beautifully, with their tails being back-lit by the rising sun!

A large heard of elk were seen beyond the East Ridge on a neighboring hilltop.

Most of the snow in the area is melted. There are still small patches in the North Meadow, and towards the north end of the East Ridge, otherwise most of the snow is gone. This is making it tricky to see the birds in certain areas, so be sure you are scanning slowly, watching for movement, and flashes of white from the males breast.

Happy birding everyone!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Happy Tuesday!

We have had more great days at the site this past weekend! Saturday and Sunday were closed days, but from the site we have designated for our volunteers to monitor from afar, they were able to see about 25-30 birds each day.

Yesterday was 24°F with clear skies. We saw a total of 16 males, 7 females, and 19 unknown birds, for a total of 42! The birds have been flying back and forth between the North Meadow and the East Ridge throughout the morning. We were also lucky to see two sparring fights between males yesterday as well.

Today was 28°F with partly cloudy skies. There were 15 males, 2 females, and 4 unknown birds on the East Ridge and in the North Meadow for a total of 21 birds. One of our public viewers said she saw a bird on the traditional main lek, which is exciting! There were several coyotes in the North Meadow, but it did not seem to have an effect on the birds.

Thanks for checking in and hope to see you all at the site!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Good afternoon!

This morning was a chilly morning with a temperature of 22°F, it was cloud covered and snowing on and off throughout the morning. We saw two males on the East Ridge this morning from 6:10am - 7:30am. The snow cyclone may still have them hunkered down a bit. Hopefully warmer weather is on the way!
Don't forget that this Saturday and Sunday are closed dates. We will see you bright and early Monday morning!
Have a great weekend and happy birding!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Hello Sage-grouse enthusiasts!

We are currently 11 days into our viewing season, and so far it has been a great start!
Since the start of the season we have had temperatures from about 22°-28°F. Last night (4/10) was the first night we have had a snow storm, and it did seem to effect the birds as there were none seen this morning. However, that was our first day we had not viewed birds! There is still quite a bit of snow in the area from our snowy winter. The ridge is starting to melt off, and there are bands of dirt visible. Vegetation on the main lek and in the meadow are starting to poke through, as well as some dry patches. The snow coverage is not affecting the birds, and they can be seen running around on top of the snow with no problems!

Typical mornings seem to be the in 12-16 range of birds seen, however on Sunday (4/7) there were an estimated 40 birds seen! WOW! We have had a few other days of 25-30 birds seen as well!
Coyotes have been present on the site, but so far the birds don't seem to be too disturbed by them. A golden eagle flushed the large group of birds on 4/7 around 7:30am, but otherwise there have not been too many disturbances! A few mornings we have viewed the birds on the main lek, which is very exciting since they have moved off of their historical site in the last ~5 years. To see this it had to be a good morning weather wise, and fairly early as they flushed pretty quickly. The majority of the birds can be seen in the north meadow, popping in and out of the willows and small dirt patches in the distance. Towards the later part of the morning, they seem to be moving up to the ridge, and eventually disappearing over the top by ~8:30am. There is a thick band of willows in the north meadow, and lately if you follow that band to the left, they can be seen behind the willows towards the north-west. There has also been a few males hanging out on top of the ridge all morning. If you find a thin, dead tree at the very base of the ridge towards the north, and then follow it directly up the ridge, until you get to the top, that seems to be where they are hanging out. Otherwise slow scanning from south to north is the best method for finding the birds.

The males are having no trouble showing off for the females, and all mornings have been displaying and dancing.

Please don't forget to dress warmly! Three hours in the lower twenties, and it can get pretty chilly! Hats, layers, and warm footwear are always a good idea!
We want to be able to keep viewing these wonderful birds, so please also remember to be as quiet as possible. Engines must be off throughout, keep car noises to a minimum, and don't leave until a volunteer tells you its okay, or the birds have completely left the area.

With less than 4,000 Gunnison Sage-grouse remaining on the planet, it is good to keep the big picture in mind and remember that we are blessed to see them at all! Here at Sisk-a-dee we will continue to promote the conservation of this incredible bird. We appreciate all of you doing your part as well!

We will continue to post daily updates, so be sure to keep checking out whats happening!
Happy birding!