The 2013 Festival is officially under way and has had a FRIGID start! The group on the pre-trip for Greater Prairie-Chickens braved freezing cold and rain. Due to decline in their numbers the bird had failed to return to the lek on the private ranch where we view them, so we had already cancelled the blind viewing this year. But about half the group stuck with the trip, since we planned to view a lek from the road.
And today we did observe a lek from the road. But the birds were also feeling the weather and only a few came in and were not very active. But we did get them! Fortunately the forecast in Woodward the rest of the week is looking much better!
Here is the list of species seen April 10 in the Tallgrass Prairie-Preserve area:
Am. Golden Plover
Here are some other species seen this week at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, but missed by our group due to the weather conditions:
Am Pipit, Merlin
The 2013 festival is just around the corner. I’m pleased to report that Sue Selman is reporting she has the birds back on her ranch, and she is identifying the lek locations. And other migrants are starting to return, with the first reports of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers returning around Oklahoma just this weekend.
So far for this year we have participants from 15 states, from Alaska to Florida, and it is not too late to register! The Saturday morning Lesser-Prairie-Chicken blind viewing is now full, but we still have room on Friday and Sunday. The Friday and Saturday Photographer’s Packages are also full, with 2 spots left on Sunday. The other field trips still have openings.
I will be emailing some additional information later this week, but here is a link to a Google Map showing the various locations we will be visiting during the festival, so you can plan your drive into Woodward.
To emphasize we are dealing with mother nature I do have some possibly bad news about the Greater Prairie-Chicken viewing. I have already reported directly to the participants that the birds have failed to return to the private ranch we use for viewing. We are actively working on finding an alternative lek, but their numbers are down across the region. We do know of a lek visible from the road (which we cannot directly access) which we will use as a default location, but that really won’t provide an opportunity for photography. Hopefully we’ll find something, and we’ll make a final decision on what we will do by the end of this week.
Here is the 2013 Festival poster, featuring a wonderful Lesser Prairie-Chicken photograph from our featured artist Noppadol Paothong. Posters will be available for purchase for $15 at the festival, or may also be ordered over the phone. Contact John Kennington at 918-809-6325 for details. Click the image below for a larger image.
Welcome to our first post for the 2013 Festival! Registration is now open, and we already have participants from 8 different states, from California to Massachusetts! We still have plenty of room, but I do want to point out that the Greater-Prairie-Chicken viewing is limited to 20 participants, and we are already more than half full. So if you are wanting to come to Oklahoma and get both species send your registration in ASAP! Feel free to call John Kennington at 918-809-6325 with any questions.
We are at capacity on Saturday for the Photographer’s Package. We still have about 4 spots open on Sunday.
Here is the Festival poster, featuring Jan Martin McGuire’s wonderful painting.
The painting by our featured artist, Jan Martin McGuire, is complete! We will use this painting for our festival poster, and limited edition prints will be available for purchase at the festival.
The trek on Thursday, April 26 to view Greater Prairie-Chickens is now full, and we cannot accept any more registrations.
I received a call a few days ago from photographer Noppadol Paothong’s office. He was interested in being part of our festival. If you don’t know Noppadol is a world-class photographer from Missouri, where he photographs for the Missouri Dept of Conservation’s Missouri Conservationist magazine. That is one of the largest and most well-regarded state magazine in the country. And on top of that, Noppadol is working on a book about the North American prairie grouse, including the Lesser Prairie-Chicken. He has been to the Selman Ranch several times in the last few years to photograph the birds.
After discussing it with him, we are going to offer a full day workshop with Noppadol, the morning in the field and the afternoon in the classroom. We won’t be photographing the chickens with him (since that is essentially a solitary activity in the blind) but we will visit the lek area and Noppadol will offer his suggestions on how to best photograph them.
This will mesh nicely with the Photographer’s Packages we’re offering, and I’ve substituted the workshop for the package on Friday.