Project: Black Grouse Part II
A few days ago I spent 2 days in the Galloway Hills trying to photograph the elusive Black Grouse again. After checking the weather report the conditions looked perfect for photography and after last weeks trip I felt that this time my images would be even better. I got to the site at around 6:15AM, the sun rises around 6.50AM so I wanted to be prepared and ready for any Black Grouse coming out in the early light. The first thing I noticed when I arrived was that it was really windy, blowing around 19mph. This is not what I wanted. I've heard when it's windy like this the grouse will stay in the grass so they're aren't in the strong winds as much.
After 10 minutes of sitting in the hide, I could hear the distant sound of two blackcock about 100 yards from me. I spent 20 minutes hoping that they would start to come towards me, but they didn't. They slowly made their way down the hill in the other direction. Because there is so much open ground in that area the grouse can go wherever they feel so at the moment it's making things a little difficult. While waiting for them to come back from nowhere a blackcock flys right in front of me, luckily I was quick onto it and was able to fire off some frames before it disappears. Unfortunately this was the last I saw of the Black Grouse that day and it's what I've become accustomed to as they're only active in the early morning light.
Click Image For A Larger View
Day 2 was a lot less windy which I was very grateful for! Due to all the snow from the day before there was a nice blanket of white on the hills surrounding me. With the same routine as the day before I sat in my hide and waited. It took 2 hours until I heard them but they weren't on the ground, all 3 of the blackcock were flying and in my direction! I found the closest grouse in my viewfinder and tracked him until he was close enough to press the shutter button. I was able to get around 15 shots of them flying until they flew towards a woodland behind me. I don't mind having shots of them in flight but I would love to get some shots of the grouse on the ground doing what they do best. Once again this was the last time I saw them that day so the time spent with the grouse is short and sweet but I'm very happy that my shots are getting better each time!