Wildlife photographer Noppadol Paothong arrived at 2 a.m. to set up his photo blind. About an hour later, the birds made their entrance.
“My heart was pumping,” Paothong said.
Of course it was. It had taken five years of back-and-forth to secure permission to be there to photograph one of the 10 most endangered bird species in the world.
“I had my lens trained on one bird,” Paothong said. “He was very close.”
Paothong crouched inside the camouflage blind and waited for the light. After several numbing hours, the temperature persistent at minus-6, the sun slowly rose, first illuminating the Colorado peaks nearby.
His Gunnison sage-grouse, akin to prairie chickens, had not yet begun that fancy dance so alluring to females: fanning his tail feathers and strutting about, puffing up his yellow eye combs, throwing out his white chest and filling two plump air sacs to make its pop-pop percolator call.
The sun was up. The timing just right. And …
“A golden eagle came in,” said Paothong, the vexation still in his voice about the predatory interloper, “and my bird left.”
A vicious spring snowstorm then blew in, and it would be three days before he had another chance.
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/11/04/3900560/photographer-chronicles-vanishing.html#storylink=cpy