The elusive red grouse

After a man-flu-induced gap of a few weeks, I finally returned to the moor this afternoon.

I was pleased to see a few late-season wheatears feeding amongst the burn heather below the trig point. Definitely on my unwritten list of top-ten of birds.

Just after the trig point, I startled a red grouse from the heather just feet away from me. Then, moments later, a second. Such a jittery species. Mind you, with so many members of my own species with shotguns on the moor at this time of year, intent solely on blasting them out of the sky, I can hardly say I blame them.

As ever, I had no idea the grouse were there before they took flight, and all of my hastily fired-off photos were totally blurred. One of there days, I will get a half-decent photo of a red grouse, mark my words! I think the secret must be to sit in hiding and wait for them to come to you: much the same technique as that used by the Homo sapiens with shotguns. Albeit without beaters.

Fifty yards later, I thought I might finally be in with a chance: I spotted a grouse skulking across the path in front of me and disappearing into the heather. No doubt, it would take flight at any second. So I focused on the heather and poised my finger on the shutter-release, ready…

Flap-flap-flap! Click-click-click! The grouse headed off low over the heather, uncharacteristically alarm-call-less. I ended up with:

Red grouse
A one-quarter decent photo of a red grouse.

One of these days, I swear, one of these days!

More photos from my walk »

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