Search­ing for the elu­sive Dusky Grouse

Bird Watching (UK) - - Bird The World -

male, but not al­ways, so a clutch of eggs will pos­si­bly have been fer­tilised by sev­eral males. Once the fe­males have de­parted, the show is over and so our group headed to a nearby ranch for a very en­joy­able cooked break­fast with the lo­cal cow­boys! My next des­ti­na­tion was about a four-hour drive south to the even smaller town of Holly – close to the bor­der with Kansas. This is now the only lo­ca­tion in Colorado where you can see the smaller Lesser Prairie Chicken. Mea­sur­ing just 38–41 cm, this species is very sim­i­lar to the pre­vi­ous species and is paler, lessheav­ily barred be­low and the air sacs are more or­ange-red than yel­low. Once again you need to book in ad­vance to have any chance of vis­it­ing the dis­play lek. Tours are led on just a few dates each April by for­mer rodeo star, Fred Dorenkamp. COLORADO For grouse-seek­ers the bird to look for here is the Dusky Grouse. This is another species that or­nithol­o­gists have cre­ated by split­ting it away from the com­moner Blue Grouse. Mea­sur­ing 47-57 cm, this bird has fan­tas­tic cam­ou­flage for hid­ing in the bush. The male is grey­ish and dur­ing courtship he dis­plays pur­ple air sacs. The fe­male is a mot­tled brown, mainly. Soon, I was head­ing to the town of Steam­boat Springs, which is close to the lekking grounds of the Sharp-tailed Grouse. Mea­sur­ing 38-48 cm, this is a very wide­spread species across much of cen­tral and north­ern USA and Canada. As its name sug­gests, this bird has a long pointed tail with a cen­tral pair of feath­ers ex­tend­ing way be­yond all of the oth­ers. It has pure white un­der­tail-coverts, a small crest and rather in­con­spic­u­ous yel­low eye-combs. The air sacs on the male are pur­ple. Turn­ing east to­wards Walden, I was now be­gin­ning to

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.