Friday, June 10, 2011

Scotland: High moors - The grouse was stalking me ........

Driving along I heard the unmistakable call of a golden plover and pulled the car to a stop.

OK rewind, and be honest! I was driving as slowly as I could down the single track road, windows down looking and listening for grouse, when I heard a bird repeatedly calling. I couldn't see anything, and didn't have a clue what it was. So I pulled into a passing place and got out to walk back in the hope of seeing what it was.
After 10 steps a grouse shot out from the side of the road, wings partly spread and came straight at me, veering off only at the last minute. It went to the verge and stood watching me. In the background I saw another cross the road, but I focused on my friend, who now seemed quite settled.
I took a couple of snaps, but didn't want to distress it so I went up the road to see what the calling bird was. After a bit of searching I found a pair of golden plover, pretty, but sadly just short of full plumage. The more distant shots look better!

Wandering back I was surprised to see my friend still there, now nibbling some heather. Time for some more shots, then back in the car to see what else was around. Don't suppose I'll ever get so close again.

There were more grouse around, but I only got anywhere near one full plumaged male, and even that was at such an awkward angle from the car that I have had to crop hard just to straighten it up a bit!
One of the other grouse was calling so I sat tight in the car to see what happened. Surprisingly it too headed for me, although not with such enthusiasm.
Turned out it was more following its chicks than leading them, but they proved very hard to get decent views of, so this was my best effort.
Not too much else around, but I did see this red deer and as always meadow pipits were everywhere. Sadly the wheatears eluded me - I never seem to do very well with them.

As always better views and more shots on the web albums HERE

1 comment:

Caroline Gill said...

A great selection. Oh to be on the moors!