Last weekend, I was in Canadian, Texas with several other photographers to try for lesser prairie chickens on the lek (booming ground). The weather was fantastic and the birds were active. Two years ago, three of us spent three days in a Canadian rain, so we were primed for sunshine and birds.
One of my problems has been (and continues to be) realizing that when I’m photographing wildlife in action, I need to pull back and leave a lot of room for wings, legs, etc. This time around, I had the Canon 7d Mark II fixed with the new Canon 100-400 mm lens. It seemed the ideal combination for this session, but maintaining space was still a challenge.
As usual, the birds were on the lek well before dawn each day and the wait for shooting light was stressful. I wanted to capture as many “cock fighting” sequences as possible, but it was an extreme challenge. Here are some of the images from the two-day shoot:
Click on an image to enlarge and sharpen it for viewing.
Since prairie chickens seldom visit the lek during the afternoon, we spent that time looking for other wildlife and scenics.
Male prairie chickens constantly run and fly about the lek challenging other males.
Male lesser prairie chickens jump into the air, kicking and pecking each other. At the end of the brief encounters, one or both males often had a mouth full of feathers.
Next year, I would like to take a group north for lesser and greater prairie chickens. It could be a great early April trip.
*** I’m going to lead a Lucifer Hummingbird photography workshop on a habitat west of Big Bend National Park on August 15-17. The birds WILL be there This is a pre-festival photo session with the Davis Mountains Hummingbird Festival in Fort Davis. Only 6 slots are available, so let me know soon if you want to sign up.
I still have those two lenses for sale: Nikon 80-200 mm and Canon 300 mm, f4.