Dusky Grouse are so interesting and this year I had an up-close and personal encounter. These birds, about the size of a chicken and weighing up to three pounds, would rather walk than fly. Best known by locals for scaring the daylights out of you since they wait until you are about two feet away then fly up in a rapid, flurried take off. Yikes, my heart! Here we have a male in full mating display last June, too busy courting to bother with us. He struts and hops with tail raised and fanned, neck feathers spread revealing his bright skin patch, loud wing thumping, and making a deep wump-wump-wump, a sound that can be heard great distances by springtime hikers walking through the forest.
Yellowstone Association, a non-profit partner of the National Park Service, is dedicated to educating us all on this amazing place called Yellowstone National Park. They offer seminars on a wide range of topics at their Yellowstone Institute, located at Lamar Buffalo Ranch. Not only do we get to learn surprising and interesting things about this vast land, but we get to stay at an historic location in the Serengeti of the West, Lamar Valley in the Northern Tier of Yellowstone. What an adventure today as our seminar group heads up into the mountains to see the only remaining wolf pens used for the 1995-96 reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone. Come, explore with us.