Sunday, 25 April 2010

Red Grouse Study (4)

It was one of those typical early spring mornings today in the Dark Peak...
Mist clearing, leaving a dull overcast light, then rain, then bright sunshine and a cold breeze too!
I was hoping to capture the first of the spring arrivals today, but unusually there wasn't a great many Grouse about...Further leading me to believe that there is some egg sitting behaviour going on and the young must be due anytime now.
Of the 5 Red Grouse I did encounter in the hour and a half I chanced the changeable weather conditions in my poorly considered light weight jacket, only one was a female and she appeared to be still courting a male bird that seldom left her side.

It was very pleasing to be able to get some exceptionally close views of this loving couple and at times the two birds were only a matter of a few feet away as I quietly observed them.

The birds were getting so close I considering switching to a 300mm lens, but then the pair exploded into the air in blind panic and flew in opposite directions into thick heather.
I thought we were all getting along so well...What had I done to cause this distress to these beautiful birds?
I certainly didn't make any sudden movements or anything else that would alarm them.
I looked around and into the sky where a beautiful and rare visitor to this part of the world was making light work of 'lifting' every bird in a mile radius...A Red Kite!

I watched in wonder as this magnificent raptor scoured the landscape before flying off in a south easterly direction.

A minute or so later, the male Grouse returned, shortly followed by the female and both birds settled a matter of feet away from me again.
I was actually quite touched to think that these birds seemed to trust me so much especially after the fright they had just experienced or maybe they knew that the Kite would not return for them as long as they were in my company...

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