Monday, June 01, 2009
Dusky Grouse Displaying
We saw a dusky grouse "displaying" today on our hike. I'd brought the camera, just taken some pictures of white irises, and !@#$ the battery was dead. This is just an internet shot but close to what we were seeing. Grouse go through major physical changes with peacock feather style displays and huge balloony cheek things. Dusky grouse are less flashy than some of the others.
The oddest part was that he, uh, can't fly once he's in this showy position with tail feathers extended and puffs around his neck. He can just scurry about and hop onto logs. I hope he'll still be doing his thing tomorrow when I take the charged camera back, but in my experience these mating birds just do their thing one day and then work things out. (Without turning this into a biological essay.)
Molly was concerned that he was a chicken in trouble and we had some wrangling to do to keep her away.
The white water trip was fun but not the big thrills that makes trips like this memorable. We were positioned at front of the three row raft, teetering on the edge, and our guide was at the very back on a little chair. No one else on board. (sign of economy) We had to row a lot. We got splashed and saw some nice rock formations. Refreshments at the end were sad sack: already opened bags of Pecan Sandies and Oreos.
The reason I was feeling skeered about it was we learned this outfit had flipped three rafts last year, and just last weekend a woman had died down near Dolores while river rafting.