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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Dusky Grouse at Marveen’s Cabin

June 22nd, 2012 · No Comments

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When my friend Marveen told me that we had a good chance of seeing Blue Grouse near her cabin above Steamboat Springs, it immediately became the bird that I most wanted to see during my recent visit there. I had never even heard of a Blue Grouse before. And when I looked it up on iBird, that app didn’t show it. So I knew it must be special. Then I searched the Web for “Blue Grouse,” and found that this is the former name of what we now call the Dusky Grouse.

Even better, I hadn’t ever seen or even heard of the Dusky Grouse either. Greater Sage-Grouse in eastern Oregon and in the Arapaho National Wildlife Reserve and Greater Prairie Chickens in eastern Colorado, yes. These species of grouse I had seen before. But not Dusky Grouse. And we didn’t see them until just before sunset. Of course, that’s the best light for photographing birds as long as they are in the sun.

I spotted one beside the road and immediately hopped out of the car to follow him around. Fortunately this flamboyant male paid me little attention as he was strutting around looking for the attention of a nearby female. Here he crossed into a patch of light.

A Male Dusky Grouse in the Last Light of Day

A Male Dusky Grouse in the Last Light of Day

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The Same Grouse in Different Light Deserves its Former Name, Blue Grouse

The Same Grouse in Different Light Deserves its Former Name, Blue Grouse

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This grouse actually showed much less interest in me than I showed in him. He was much more interested in this female Dusky Grouse.

The Object of His Pursuit

The Object of His Pursuit

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The grouse were just a few feet from Marveen’s cabin, which we had visited earlier in the day.

Marveen and Her Cabin in the Forest above Steamboat Springs

Marveen and Her Cabin in the Forest above Steamboat Springs

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Marveen and her husband Wayne had lived in the cabin twice for a year at a time. They now live in Nikiski, on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, where he is the pastor of a church, the founder of Cornerstone Family Ministries, and the author of Adventures of an Alaskan Preacher. Marveen was herself visiting Steamboat Springs when she invited me there. She had gone there to help take care of her step-mother Roberta and was staying in Roberta’s house this time.

Marveen knew that I was looking for a cabin to get away for a few days this summer and offered to let me use hers. If I had accepted her kind offer, I probably would have seen even more Dusky Grouse. But instead I opted for the relative luxury of a motel in Steamboat Springs.

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