where, when, and what to find

Henefer Lek

posted by Tim Avery at
on Saturday, March 29, 2014 

Henefer Lek from Google Street View

The Henefer Lek is a well known Greater Sage-Grouse Lek on the Morgan and Summit County line.  The lek site has historically been right on SR-65 and this has caused mortality among the birds each breeding season.  In recent years special fencing has been put up along the highway and the birds are generally now seen in the fields to the west of the road.  The habitat is shrubsteppe on both sides of the highway and county lines.

The reason people go to the Henefer Lek is to view strutting GREATER SAGE-GROUSE typically between March and May every year.  This lek site is the most well known and most visited in Utah and very accessible form Salt Lake City.  Other birds are also present but not the focus.  Birds typical of shrubsteppe like WESTERN MEADOWLARK, MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD, BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE, COMMON RAVEN, BREWER'S SPARROW, LARK SPARROW,and HORNED LARK may be present depending on what point in the season you visit.

Lek Etiquette:
by Mark Stackhouse, Westwings, Inc.

1. Arrive early—preferably while it’s still dark, or at very low light.

2.  Drive up slowly, park, and turn off your motor and lights.

3.  Stay in your car. This is probably the most important! —until the birds have finished displaying and left the lek. Even if you need to leave before the display is ended (it’s better to stay in a parked car throughout), don’t leave your vehicle, but simply drive off slowly.

4.  If you open your windows, keep your voices low, and movements slow.

5.  Avoid driving too close to any birds next to the road.  Grouse in the throws of their mating displays often seem oblivious to everything around them, and it’s easy to imagine that what we’re doing isn’t even noticed. However, perhaps because they are so pre-occupied, the choice of a safe lek-site is very important, and the birds do notice if there are things around which make them uneasy. If this disturbance is frequent, then the lek is likely to be abandoned.

From Salt Lake take I-80 east bound past Park City towards Cheyenne.  Take exit 168 for I-84 towards Ogden.  Go 3.7 miles to exit 115.  At the end of the on ramp turn left onto SR-65. Follow the road through town and take the left to stay onto SR-65 into East Canyon.  Go approximately 6 miles to the Summit/Morgan County line and the lek.  Drive slowly as you approach in case any birds are in the road.  Historically parking on the east side of the road was a best practice, but with the birds in the fields to the west, most observers, now park on the west side of the road.  I'm not sure if this is effecting the birds or not, so please be mindful when you visit.

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Blogger Logan said...

Thanks for this post if all goes well I'm going to go for my first time tomorrow morning! Just curious how long does the lek last? In the etiquette is said not to leave till it ends

March 17, 2017 at 6:04 PM  

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