30 March 2013

Spring still life with sleet storm

Cottonwood, Kiplinger Road

On a whim, we left at 5:30 a.m. to chase sage grouse on the high plains. Note: if your whims routinely drag you out at that hour on a Saturday, you either have very peculiar whims, or else have stumbled into the world of birding. Those are not necessarily contradictory. We are at the edge of Greater Sage Grouse territory and have to travel a bit to see this spring display up on the higher plains where there is...wait for it...sage.

Sage grouse are normally seem as specks in the distance, and this year was no exception. What was exceptional was the closeness of the lekking we saw last year. Rather than post a picture of an animated speck, I'll refer you to this post. We were close enough to see and here the male go through the booming and strutting motions, but not nearly as close this year.

We think it's spring, but the appearance of a storm with rain, snow and sleet mid-day has us questioning that. The birds seem to have no questions.

Paired geese

Barbed wire still life

Sign, Kiplinger Road

Post office historical marker. We found three of these today. 

First sign of the storm

A tiny monument north of Belle Fourche. It was worth going 15 miles out of the way to see. 

Just in case you had any doubts. 

Bear Butte as the clouds begin to form

Minuteman missile silo still life

Permission to trespass? 

Truck memories

Sign, Orman Dam



Bear Butte as the storm builds

Storm front on the plains

Immature bald eagle, trying hard for the white head

The point at which the trip was effectively over

Bear Butte eternal

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