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Thread: Morning Sharp-Tails at work

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    Member JediMasterSalmonSlayer's Avatar
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    Default Morning Sharp-Tails at work



    I had never seen sharp-tails in the garrison area of the Army Base before..guess the numbers are good this year? About 20 birds in the covey spread out under the trees and along Monterey Lake just outside of work this morning.




    This guy was in the tree, I could have put a choke hold on him.

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    There was one running around the UAF campus a few days ago as well. Didn't expect that!

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    Speaking of sharpys, saw this one and two of his buddies on the Denali Highway a couple weeks ago. Not where I would expect them, but birds will be birds.


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    Sharp-tailed grouse are indeed expanding their range, but I wouldn't ever expect to see any on the Denali Highway. Very interesting and one for the notes. Now on Fort Wainwright? Sure. These birds are still in their migration phase, headed toward their respective winter grounds, although, it's a bit late for that. I wish I were over there with my long lenses in that light, and with the snow. But they should be gone soon. Thanks to both for posting this information.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim McCann View Post
    Sharp-tailed grouse are indeed expanding their range, but I wouldn't ever expect to see any on the Denali Highway. Very interesting and one for the notes. Now on Fort Wainwright? Sure. These birds are still in their migration phase, headed toward their respective winter grounds, although, it's a bit late for that. I wish I were over there with my long lenses in that light, and with the snow. But they should be gone soon. Thanks to both for posting this information.

    Jim,

    What are migratory patterns like for grouse?

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    Member JediMasterSalmonSlayer's Avatar
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    That covey of sharpies stayed around until I left work yesterday afternoon. I went over to do a looky look when I got ready to leave and found them all still hanging out along the lake. They acted more like they typically due, as soon as they saw me the entire covey flushed and flew off into the far distance (I was expecting them to do that in the morning when they first saw me, but it must have been too cold to care) The warmer air in the afternoon must of had them ready to fly. They flew off like I normallly see them do.... for over a mile before they disappeared.
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    Snowburns,

    Ruffed and spruce grouse stick around their home turf, but sharp-tailed grouse will move off from breeding and summer grounds to a wintering area usually around the end of September, but obviously sometimes they dawdle a bit into October. Some sharp-tails don't go far, maybe ten or so miles, while others will reach out to around 20 miles or so. Sharp-tails eat dwarf birch in winter, like ptarmigan, but will found hanging out in and around copses of spruce trees. Like other grouse, they either spend a frigid winter night up in a spruce tree, or snuggled up under the snow like a ruffed grouse. Little is known about these birds as well. No surprise there. But back around 1930 Ivar Skarland and William Geist used to walk the railroad tracks below the UAF and would put up covey after covey of sharptails during and evening walk. Then around 1934 they all but disappeared and from witness accounts may have done some sort of mass migration south. Up until at least 1952 there was a dearth of sharp-tails around. My research revealed that about every 30 years these birds pack their bags and move off...somewhere. Canada has the same experience. Twenty years ago I could take my pointing dogs out for an hour or so of good sharp-tail hunting right here on the outskirts of Fairbanks. Those birds are now gone. I'm one of those guys who is hungry for information about sharp-tail sightings in an effort to track their progress and such. Burke's info about the sharp-tail on the Denali Highway is exciting news for me.

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    Day 3 the Invasion continues... had about 20 of them running around front yard at work again today when I left for lunch.
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    Member JediMasterSalmonSlayer's Avatar
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    Sharp tailes were out Friday after work around the lake again, about 20 birds. I got home to find 2 more of them in my front yard! Geez no need to travel for any more bird hunting this year. Plenty of birds out.
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    That's awesome....enjoy every minute

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    I have seen more Sharptails this year then ever around the cabin. Jim, your info seems spot on. We don't see abird all summer till first week of Oct. My girls got six of them on a ridge behind the cabin yesterday morning. As soon as the sun poked over the hills about 10:15, birds were a flying..

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    Steve, Has anyone ever told you how lucky you are to have such wonderful children? You're teaching them right. Looks like a pile of spruce grouse for dinner!

    Warm regards,

    Jim

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    I think how lucky I am every day, thanks Jim. To be honest, the birds where packed with pine needles and even after soaking in milk for a day, they where pretty gamey. The gizzards on the other hand, MMMMMMMMM!

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    Thanks guys for this thread. I learned some things I didn't know.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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    Member JediMasterSalmonSlayer's Avatar
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    Agreed...those birds are not sharp-tailed grouse the girls harvested, spruce grouse for sure.


    Jim - I have heard several stories this year of friends who were out hunting and seeing large coveys of sharp-tails on the south side of the Tanana River, just this last October.
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    Yes sir, a lot of sharp-tails over winter out on the Tanana Flats bombing range eating dwarf birch. We could be in for a sort of irruption of sharp-tails over the next few years. Just a guess, and hope, but it could happen. In the '30s there were sharp-tails everywhere around Fairbanks. Those walking the railroad below UAF would put up hundreds each time. Then they disappeared for many years. Same thing happened in Canada. With our large expanse of wild fire every year we sure are building some fine habitat for sharp-tails. But they are still where you find them, much like ptarmigan. Interesting stuff. I remain the student.

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