I don't post here much but thought this experience could be appreciated by some birding folks.
I spent the night last Wednesday in a sage grouse blind and lek thanks to my good friend and member on this site, Tom Reichner. It was one of the most memeorable experiences I've ever had in the wild.
I started out getting out of court early that day. (I'm a lawyer) I had a client walk into court late that wanted a warrant quashed but I just ran out and told him to handle it himself. Why was I in such a rush? The birds come into the lek or breeding area around 8pm and I had a 3 hour drive ahead of me. I drove like the wind and got to the lek around 7pm. I met Tom and he helped me get situated in the blind. It was still light out, and I was wondering why I was hiding in this blind/tent before dark but I soon heard the reason why. At about 8:30pm a sage grouse flew in by the tent. That was the only one I heard fly in. I tried to sleep but couldn't that night. It was eerily quiet and there were coyotes howling all around. I was miles from anywhere in a remote sage brush and wheat field off the road. Tom warned me the grouse would be all around, so be quiet in the night. Peeing in a coffee can and trying to be quiet was a chore, but I got it accomplished.
I got a little sleep, and woke up at 3:00 AM. I knew it would be light in an hour or so and I couldn't wait. I tried to look out the peep hole but didn't see anything because it was too dark. At 4:30 AM it was mostly dark and eerily quiet. Out of the still night a loud alien type sound came from 5 feet outside my tent. I about jumped out of my skin. Suddenly, the field around me lit up with alien "boinking" sounds. I peered out the peep hole and saw flashes of white moving everywhere. They were here!
I slowly got sat up and got a coat on because it was cold. I had laid out the camera gear so I was ready. There were white blobs boiking and dancing everywhere around the tent. I slid the lens out inch by inch slowly. Although I tried to take pictures in the early morning light, the best images came later once I could drop the ISO to 800 or 400. The sounds and actions the sage grouse make are amazing. I blew through 800 images in 2 hours. Here are a few for your enjoyment.