What’s Not To Lek? 2019

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ScottP
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What’s Not To Lek? 2019

Post by ScottP » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:33 am

Part 1 - the Southern Reach

No formal grousing activities this year (hoping for some funding to come thru for 2020) so I decided to wing it in a few known places, just to see how the birds are doing. They keep it pretty low-key here when you cross the state line.

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Dropping down into the Tendoys; snowpack decent

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A good bit of ice on Clark Canyon

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Went thru 2 pretty intense snow squalls on the way up the hill, over the pass and it’s a little calmer; Valle de Saltamontes

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Managed to find a patch of bare ground and set up camp for the next few days

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A good vantage point (the lek is on the hill to the far right); usually a reliable site, this one was active if not crowded. 12 birds sighted (sorry, this one’s a bit far away for pics), they flushed when a golden eagle buzzed the hill and that, as they say, was that

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Tried to get a shot putting the camera up to the binoculars but this one’s just a bit too far away (this did pan out later on)

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Gave me a chance to spend some time hiking around the area

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And in town

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Time to head north to visit family and friends; eagle sitting on the ice at Beaverhead Rock (there were 3 of them)

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About the only unobscured shot of the Tobacco Roots (build that snowpack!)

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I thought the Jeff only had 2 seasons - runoff and Hoot Owl closures; if I had more time I would have fished it for a while

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Rest stop in Three Forks

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Next day it’s on to the west slope; first yellow-headed blackbird sighting of the season (note to lazy birdwatchers - the ponds at the county landfill in Kalispell are loaded with them)

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The Anacondas are breathtaking (they’re in there somewhere)

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Last stop Missoula for visit with good friends (it was nice seeing Ben and Christine, too; thanks for the dusky grouse dinner)

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On to Stumptown; blinded by liquid sunshine

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I'd be ready when my feet touch ground
Wherever I come down
RIP Walter

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ScottP
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Re: What’s Not To Lek? 2019

Post by ScottP » Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:50 am

Part 2 - Dead Center

Plan was to head east at daybreak but the weather had other ideas.

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Forecast called for a few inches at Marias Pass. Not wanting to start the trip with a detour into the Middle Fork Flathead, I pushed the start time back a few hours. A few squalls along the southern edge of Glacier but the roads were clear

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And after I crossed the divide things cleared up nicely

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Sight of the infamous 2018 Chicken Tender Incident; my wife’s ill-advised attempt to feed one of the feral dogs that Browning is famous for

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Family (wife’s) roots up in the Sweetgrass Hills

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And here

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Got involved in a low speed game of tag with a rough leg on a gravel side road, trying to get a decent pic (which I didn’t) while it hopped from pole to pole

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Square Butte

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Crossing the Mo near the Breaks

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Pretty much 50/50 N/S x E/W

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Base camp; nothing as pretty as the last one but it’s free and they have water

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Out the next morning to a previously productive site

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We counted over 50 here in 2016 but I only found 8 this time (sorry, no close-ups but sage have a personal space of about 200 yards; sharpies are much more tolerant)

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Stretching the legs on some state land

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Backside of Black Butte

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Spooked a short ear

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A good bit of grouse scat but nothing fresh

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A prong’s horn

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Last leg; hoping the sharpies cooperate

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What lies beneath? Let’s hope we never have to find out

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Luckily, the snow geese and tundra swans (and their attendant hordes) have largely vacated the scene so I have the place pretty much to myself (besides the sharpies, I’m here for the duck jam; crazy numbers and varieties)

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I could make one hell of an omelet

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But she wouldn’t be too happy

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This one got a prime waterfront lot

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Pretty colors and no mosquitoes

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On the lek before first light and they’re going at it (not great quality but the best I could do holding a phone up to binoculars); like I said, the sharpies are much more tolerant of voyeurs



This had been a Ferruginous nest

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But squatter’s rights prevail

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Found the new nest just up the hill

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Lots of these guys around

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Last night out

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About the only speed it’s safe at

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In his later years, Montag became a farmer but old habits die hard

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Say hey to Alice

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Surprisingly good Mexican here

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Thru the gap one more time

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And safely back

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I'd be ready when my feet touch ground
Wherever I come down
RIP Walter

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The Wandering Blues
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Re: What’s Not To Lek? 2019

Post by The Wandering Blues » Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:10 pm

Very nice. That’s a purdy part of the planet.
"We're a cross between our parents and hippies in a tent...."
180 Degrees South

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stillsteamin
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Re: What’s Not To Lek? 2019

Post by stillsteamin » Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:30 pm

Beautiful, empty country. I miss that place, need to see it again soon
I still like to explore new water, but these holes and drifts and slots are like the books and records I have carried around for decades. They are not only places of affection - they are the fabric of my life. - Doug Rose

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ScottP
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Re: What’s Not To Lek? 2019

Post by ScottP » Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:06 pm

Not crowded but definitely not empty.
I'd be ready when my feet touch ground
Wherever I come down
RIP Walter

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stillsteamin
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Re: What’s Not To Lek? 2019

Post by stillsteamin » Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:26 pm

ScottP wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:06 pm
Not crowded but definitely not empty.
Well, empty compared to seattle.
I still like to explore new water, but these holes and drifts and slots are like the books and records I have carried around for decades. They are not only places of affection - they are the fabric of my life. - Doug Rose

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mitch aka 2 fish
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Re: What’s Not To Lek? 2019

Post by mitch aka 2 fish » Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:48 pm

that would be very many things compared to mind the crane seattle.
9 out of 10 entomologists fucking well aren't.

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Upsetter
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Re: What’s Not To Lek? 2019

Post by Upsetter » Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:56 pm

Missed you again Scott. I was up there last Wednesday and Thursday. Heading up this Wednesday Thursday. Going to get the camper established on some body of water. enjoy that wonderful pre skiter weather while it lasts. Let me know if you’re coming ack around

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