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A Sage-Grouse and Short-eared Owls!

Alex Lamoreaux|

On our drive back from McCall this past Monday, Anna and I swung past Midvale to check out some Greater Sage-Grouse leks. It was late in the afternoon but we were hoping maybe a few grouse would be hanging out near the lek, especially since this species would be a lifer for us. Of course, there were no grouse to be seen in the area of the lek, so we decided to go over to nearby Crane Creek Reservoir and see what was around. The lake was pretty empty, so we took the ‘primitive road’ around the south side of the lake. About at the halfway point of this road, we came up over a little hill and spotted a female Greater Sage-Grouse sitting in the road, not at all worried about how close we were in our car. Anna and I snapped off a few pictures as the grouse slowing made her way into the sage brush and out view. About as soon as she wasnt visible anymore, I spotted a Short-eared Owl about 300 meters farther away. Soon another Short-eared Owl joined the first and they began hunting over the grassy fields and the sage brush. Based on their coloration, we could tell it was a male and female. During the hour we watched the birds, the male made two very close passes over Anna and I, and we were able to get some really cool shots. I have seen many Short-eared Owls, but almost every time I have seen them, it has been too dark for photos….not on this day though, it was still very bright out and the sun was in a perfect position to light these beautiful birds up as they flew nearby.

Greater Sage-Grouse - female (photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Short-eared Owl - male (photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Short-eared Owl - male (photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Short-eared Owl - male (photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Short-eared Owl - male (photo by Anna Fasoli)

About the Author

Alex Lamoreaux

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Alex Lamoreaux has been an avid birder and naturalist since he was a youngster, growing up exploring the farmland and Appalachian ridges near Hershey, Pennsylvania. He attended Penn State University, studying wildlife biology. Alex has traveled extensively throughout North America, Central America, and South Africa and is a freelance nature tour guide, field biologist, and wildlife photographer. Alex has worked on wildlife research projects ranging from Whimbrel migration along the coast of Virginia to Yellow-billed Cuckoo nesting in the desert southwest. He has been the migration counter at the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory for the past two fall seasons, documenting the massive visible migration of raptors and songbirds along Lake Superior. Alex loves to share his knowledge of nature, and strives to bring the birding community together to share in the fun that studying birds and wildlife has to offer. He has helped to organize and coordinate birding events in his home state of Pennsylvania and beyond. Contact Info Alex Lamoreaux aslamoreaux@gmail.com (717) 943-7086