In recent year the Black Grouse has been making a bit of a come back in certain parts of Scotland. Still a red listed species but due to the planting of natural forest in many parts of the Trossachs the bird is enjoying it's environment.
During April the male birds gather for the Lek to impress the female. This is an amazing wildlife encounter! I took these images over two morning 2 weeks apart. I made sure I reached the site while it was still dark, in fact it was about 4am in the morning and sunrise wasn't until about 5am. I quietly erected the portable hide under the light of the full moon and got in to position. All you can do ithen is wait. It was a cold and frosty morning and this added to the experience. I knew it was going to be clear sunshine with white frost as the morning progressed.
I only waiting for about 10 mins before the first birds flew in. I could not see them but I could certainly here them. See the video below.
Gradually as the light improved you could just see the white tails of the bird in the darkness, moving to and fro against the blackness. I was quite funny. I had to wait until about 6:30 before the light was what I had hoped for. The second morning I had positioned the hide so I would be shooting into the sun, but this enabled me to photograph their hot breath as they made their distinctive calls. They clearly were not disturbed by my presence as they often came too close to photograph. These are iconic birds and are a treat to watch during this ritual.
One of the amazing things, unless it was just coincidence is that on the first day they all departed at 7:32 and on the second morning it was 7:34. I waiting until past 8:30 and they didn't return on both of the days. I wonder if they have a built-in clock telling them "That's it boys...time to go"