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This time the fellow didn’t have a girl grouse to follow around. I saw him as the girls and I walked on the road and I wandered over to see what he was doing and he gave me an enticing ‘come hither’ look and so I did. He must have been excited because he went right into his Dusky Grouse display attitude, puffing up his eyebrows and air sacs and making the deep booming noise that must drive girl grouse wild. Not me, although I do find it interesting.

I think by now, most of the girl grouse (grouses?) are on nests so this fellow might be out of luck. And when I look at these pictures as compared to the ones from last week, he seems like a different bird. Note that the eyebrows are nowhere near as bushy.

These two Great Horned Owls kept us awake earlier in the spring with their hooting back and forth in the wee hours of the morning. Now that they’ve settled down to raise a family, they are much quieter. I imagine they are busy hunting, probably just one at a time these days. I think the eggs have hatched and the mom stays on or near the nest all the time while the dad stands guard in a nearby tree during the day. It will be fun to watch the little ones grow up!

 

 

 

Yesterday morning at the breakfast table I could hear a Dusky Grouse making his booming noise to attract a mate. It is not unusual to hear them this time of year in the draw or up on the hill above us but yesterday it was really close to the house. I had to go see where it was. It was in the backyard, strutting between Sky’s agility equipment. There was a female picking at the weed seeds in our rather dilapidated lawn. Our lawn is more habitat than turf. The birds and bees like it.

The male grouse puffed up and showed his air sacs and made his noise and walked toward the sliding glass door where I was making photos. I think he may have seen his reflection and was getting a little bit defensive thinking there was another male in his territory. Then he turned his attention towards the female who remained mostly disinterested.

The hillsides are really drying out quickly this year. Mud season usually seems to last weeks but this year it has been short. My favorite vernal pond isn’t a pond. I’ve seen salamanders and spadefoot toads there some years. I wonder how long they can stay dormant underground til the water returns?

Dry hillsides make for good hiking so the girls and I are enjoying it while we can. It won’t be long til we will be able to get up into the mountains!

The girls and I enjoyed a good hike in the hills on Saturday.

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