What's not to lek? (not ff)


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Left the sunshine and warmth of the Cali desert for a chance to see this:

Gonna have to be set up for observations long before Dawn shows her crack, temps in the teens until the sun's up, and snow's a definite possibility - can't wait! Might as well post some pics here of the trip over the next week, although internet service down at base camp will be sketchy at best:

The Blue Pony; my wife's aunt and uncle, who are letting us borrow it, went to Havre High School.

The command module; you want shag carpet, I'll give you shag carpet

You want a CB radio good buddy, here you go

dinner at the Willow Creek Cafe; wife had ribs, I went with the chicken

Larry Pogreba's truck. John Gierach wrote about him in a few of his early books - a bit of a tinkerer and inventor; he's built a bowling ball cannon with a range of over 1 mile (apparently the finger holes cause the balls to fly erraticly)

Willow Creek high-rise

Out and about in Three Forks

the Sac

took this fishing a few times on Willow Creek (great fishing, lots of rattlers)

Bud Lilly's digs

Off to the Beaverhead Valley in the morning


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The drive down was fine; stuck to the Jeff through Twin Bridges so I never had to take it over 50 mph, which was a good cruising speed for all concerned (my wife was driving the lek truck and she kept my backside clear). A little tight through L & C Caverns area but luckily no oncoming traffic to deal with; rest of the drive was a breeze.

Got set up in camp

and met up with Ben, the guy who's running the sage grouse study through Montana Audubon.

Sal, his English Setter, a real sweetheart that I met 2 yrs ago.

We hit one of the leks this morning; best count we had was 18 males/no hens (the guy who manages the campground had been out a few days before and spotted 30/20); Ben attributed the lower numbers to overcast weather. Sorry no pics but our P & S has a decent zoom but nothing that would show more than dun lumps with white spots.

Afterwards, a stroll through town

Back in camp (there in there, but it doesn't open for a few more weeks)

Local color, or black-and-white as the case may be

Scoped out some more spots we're going to work over the next few days

then drove into town to fuel truck and ourselves

a great day in beautiful country.



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New day, new spot. Again, no bird pics; sorry but the observation spot was 1/2 mile away, although we did come across a male and female in the road on the drive in (couldn't get the camera out fast enough before they flushed).

this was their dance hall; by 9:00 AM the party was over

it's that time of year; they're doing it on the ground and doing it in the trees

concensus was that an evening of warm soaking and fine food was in order (no shots of the springs - a number of intoxicated patrons and bad bodies not worth showing; suffice it to say it was refreshing)

gotta love a place with skunk pelts in the front window

next day's viewing spot required a bit of a hike and climb (views were worth it although only 1 grouse was spotted)

beating the bush for samples

Sal flushed one after a beautiful set; her reward back at the truck

leaving the Valley of 10,000 Haystacks

slide beaver, slide!

greeted this morning with a little dusting

at 17 degrees the propane stove went belly up so broke out the Supercat; 5 minutes later and coffee was a go

Beautiful, Scott. I love that country. Searching for sage hens is as good a reason as any to explore the out of the way places there.

Was that Willow Creek the tributary to the Jefferson River? I wish the names Lewis & Clark gave to the three main tribs of the Jefferson had been retained; they named them for Jefferson's three principle virtues. Willow Creek was the Philosophy river; the Ruby was Philanthropy river, and the Big Hole was Wisdom river. Only the last name survives in the little town on the headwaters of the Big Hole. What we call the Beaverhead, remained the Jefferson to its headwaters to Lewis and Clark.



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That's great information to know and, yes it is beautiful country (especially before the mosquitos have had a chance to spread their wings). The water below the beaverslide is a Bighole trib, a little south of Jackson.



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12 degrees and not a cloud in the sky; perfect spotting weather and the grouse obliged.

Baldy Mountain greets the morning sun

and a few hours later

munchin' in the willows

frontier justice

Got the guy talked down to $1500 and he's willing to throw in a chamois and some Turtle Wax. Call me crazy but I think I'm gonna do it

Scoot P. Did your wife's anut and uncled got to Havre High when it was off fith ave across from the church? I am from Havre but it was along time ago.


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wife declared a town day; done birding by 11, so we took a ride down the hill

car alarm

great burgers (although the guys at the flyshop said Papa T's were better)

don't ask

thought about getting some as stocking stuffers for Christmas

no magic tricks from this merlin (although he made a field mouse disappear)

Nice day


I bragged about the food here so the wife wanted proof; she got it

always worth a peek

last morning out

always yield the right of way; saw about 20 more where they were supposed to be (best count of the week)

neighbors dropped by to say so long

trip back to Three Forks was uneventful; Blue Pony back in the stall