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Tag Archives: dusky grouse

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.

Balsamroot sunflowers are in full bloom this week. Their sunny color paints the hillsides of the Methow valley with vivid pigments that invite you to get up and go outdoors. If you’re not out in the hills this week, you are making a mistake. MA and I took the dogs to Patterson Mountain, a popular and easily accessible hiking trail near here. ¬†There were several cars at the trailhead so we knew others were out ahead of us and we did see them but mostly they were leaving as we were arriving so on top of the mountain we had it mostly to ourselves, except for a talkative raven.

The contrast of green hills crowned with yellow and the snow-covered mountains and blue skies surely make this the prettiest time of the year. There were other flowers – rock cress, shooting stars, blue bells, serviceberry, even a late twin flower. The bitterroot were not yet blooming. That surprised me. But the star of the day was the Balsamroot.

I had told MA that we needed a dock to see if Sky would ‘dock dive’. It seems a bit lofty to think of an eight month old puppy being ready to take on the big world of dock diving but her enthusiasm for swimming seems to be boundless. MA said she knew where there was a dock but the lake might still be frozen. She likes to go there before spring really arrives and other folks are fishing up there. So we loaded the dogs and headed into the mountains. Sure enough, we hit snow on a shady part and I fretted about going through it without snow tires but when I saw how much farther we had to go, I bucked up and drove my subaru through it without any problem. There was some snow that was pretty soft and squishy but we got through that too. Finally made it to the top and then had a reasonably short walk to the lake. Most of it was still ice-covered but not around the dock. And sure enough, Sky was happy to jump off the dock and swim for a stick or the tennis ball that she found in the campground. Luna was happy to watch. Frida jumped a couple of times too. After a while the dogs and I went for a walk and left MA to her fishing and when she was done with her worms, she had five nice trout for supper! On the way home, we saw a Dusky Grouse and he must have seen something he liked about us or my car because he soon puffed up in all of his courtship finery.

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