PRAIRIE CHICKEN, NOT SO MUCH - 19 APRIL 2014
Bike and Bunkhouse - Milnesand, NM
I'm in Eastern New Mexcio at my annual trek to see Prairie Chickens. Unfortunately, this year is bad for the bird. It's so bad it was listed as "Threatened" by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. I don't know the details except the bird numbers are in free-fall. The numbers this year suggest much less than the relatively epic populations from only four years ago. In fact, it's so bad, I didn't even go out to shoot pictures of the birds. The one lek that has any reasonable numbers was being viewed by a couple of vans. Instead I elected to do something else, like ride the bike.
Bike riding was a little bit of an adventure. You can't tell from this picture but what you see is a bike with two, count them two, flat tires. While I hadn't had a flat out in the field enough to make me stop riding in years--as in I can't remember the last time. Today, I got two flats going a paltry three miles due to little "stickers." Dang, something is going to have to give here.
Today, I shot some landscapes of the cloudy sunrise. I got a few portrait shots of the Great Horned Owl on a nest. Overall pretty low key.
Tomorrow, I'll likely not shoot the birds. I don't want to stress them. I'll find something else to do. I'll probably get home early enough to fix my two flats.
Still, I love being out here. Half the reason to be here are the fantastic people I see here.