Greater Prairie Chickens at Dunn Ranch Prairie – 2019

It’s been quite some time since I’ve shared a blog post. This has primarily been due to being in a residence move that is seemingly never going to end. But, I have been finding time here and there to make new images and even get some post-processing done. I have switched themes in this blog, picking a theme that should allow me to create a “portfolio” page to showcase my stronger photos. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to figure out how to do this in WordPress. So I have not gotten far in this endeavor.

My goal is to post more frequently, just to share photos. There may not be a lot of accompanying text, but will depend on the subjects, my amount of free-time and my mood.

Greater Prairie Chicken in golden light

The images in this post were taken back in April of 2019 during a WGNSS Nature Photo Group outing to Dunn Ranch Prairie. This visit was close to the end of the lekking period and was the latest date that the MDC was keeping the blind open. This was different than our previous visit when we visited in the earlier part of the season and had pros and cons associated.

Boomer

Visiting the lek later in the season created better chances for better light (clear skies) and warmer weather. However, what we didn’t expect was that the females typically choose the dominant males to copulate with in the earlier days of the season and will often be nesting come the later days of the lekking season. This is what we had found during this visit. We did not see a single hen during this visit.

The standoff

Because there were no hens to compete for, the males had no heart for the competition. We had very few opportunities to photograph the action we had witnessed during our first visit to the lek two years prior.

One of the few opportunities to capture a fight between males

The light, however, was spectacular – we had no reason to complain and we all made memorable portrait style photos of these birds booming, dancing and cackling.

Never a disappointment, hopefully this Missouri population somehow continues to hang on so that WGNSS members can continue to enjoy this spectacle in Missouri.

So long!

-OZB

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