A visitor at the lek site
We had a visitor at the Black Grouse Lek this morning. One that made me happy, but also puzzled me a little.
I got up way too early this morning. The forecast said mist during the early hours with a clearing sky later in the morning and later means 8 a.m. if somebody wants to know. The forecast also said temperatures below zero so I hoped for frost and maybe I could nail some pictures in which you could see the warm breath from the Black Grouses when they call.
I could hear the Black Grouses when I came to the lek site so I hurried to put up my tent so I wouldn´t disturb the birds. It didn´t take more than five minutes, once inside the tent, before I had Black Grouse all around me. The Black Grouse lek has really picked up pace since my last visit and my hope for the morning to get pictures of the Black Grouse hen was soon in the pocket. This shy hen wasn´t the visitor I spoke about earlier, but the visitor was another forest bird that made an appearance later on.
I also took some time doing a video recording of the sound of the Black Grouse lek. The video clip doesn´t show how intense the lek was, but it gives you an idea of what you could expect sound wise from a Black Grouse lek.
So who was this visitor then?
The visitor was a Western Capercaillie hen that all of a sudden made an appearance. It actually did two sessions at the lek site as far as I know. I have never had the opportunity before to photograph this handsome hen and to do it at a Black Grouse lek made it even more special. I know that they can breed and produce an offspring called Rackelhahn, the hybrid is unable to produce an offspring, and maybe it was also checking out a potential partner like the Black Grouse hen.
It was interesting to see how differently the visitor behaved compared to the Black Grouse hen. The Western Capercaillie hen was strutting around, just a few centimeters from my hide, while the Black grouse hen always seemed to be suspicious of its surroundings making bursts from cover to cover trying to stay as hidden as possible. The Western Capercaillie hen was more interested in feeding and it actually stayed really close to my tent hide both times.
I had a great morning and managed to capture many different types of pictures. The only negative with the morning was the lack of direct sunlight so I could work with back-light photos. The highlight was of course the visiting Western Capercaillie hen that I surely didn’t expect to find at an opened place like the lek site, but the Black Grouses also produced a great show to watch and photo.
Please enjoy the gallery.