[Tweeters] greater sage grouse, Douglas county

heapbigdoc at netscape.net heapbigdoc at netscape.net
Sun Dec 15 21:51:10 PST 2013

Not sure I believe this myself, but I'm going to post it anyway.

We made a loop over into Douglas County today looking for for winter visitors. Traveled from Grand Coulee to Chief Joseph Dam, then up the canyon past Wells Wildlife Area to road 14 NE and back east via Mansfield to Highway 17. The weather was cool and still, with patchy fog that burned off about 1:30. Mostly it was dull - no snowy owls, gyrfalcons, snow buntings or longspurs, and only four rough legged hawks. We even had to look to find horned larks. There was a prairie falcon on a power pole on 14 NE just east of highway 17.

But at 12:15 we were east of Mansfield driving south along road J NE, perhaps 200 yards north of road 16 NE when we flushed a large, dark, gray-brown gallinaceous bird out of the road. No pictures, but good looks as the bird flew westward into the field and disappeared. Definitely not a turkey, pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, chukar, gray partridge, or California quail. The fresh droppings in the road were green, friable, and 30 mm long by 5-9 mm thick. The habitat is grassy pasture or CRP with patches of sage.

I'm forced to call this a female or juvenile greater sage grouse. It's not impossibly far from the Leahy Junction lek. Has anyone else seen grouse this far south?

-Roy A. Myers, Electric City, WA

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