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lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

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lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

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Tuesday, 12 April 2011 21:15

First encounter with Black Grouse

When I admired the pictures of Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) on the internet last year, I had no clue this bird was rather common bird in the Bergen area where I live in Norway. The very first sight of the Black Grouse at Sotra island last winter and the stories I have heard from some locals made me to look more into literature and internet sources to find a few potentially good places for photography around. Surprisingly already the very first trip to one of the places brought quite good results!

 

Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix)

IMG_5584PS

 

The very first spot I have visited is a mountain very close to the Bergen centre, the hill that we are looking at right from our kitchen at home! In the books one can read that Black Grouses may be lekking from March but the main season is around end of April, beginning of May. So my first trip up to the mountain was more a reconnaissance with no major expectation. To my big surprise already after climbing up some 200 elevation meters I have heard the typical burbling sound the males produce during lekking! One was on my left hand side, another one very close ahead of me hiding in a marsh. I knew how shy the birds could be so I tried to crawl silently towards the sound – unfortunately the burbling stopped and a while later I could see both birds flying away towards the top of the hill.

 

Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix)

IMG_5548PS

Just a few meters higher I could see that one bird – maybe one of those I flushed out – was sitting on the top of a tree. This time, even more carefully I tried to go around for better view hiding behind the rocks and trees. I could see that beneath the tree with one male there were other two birds lekking on the ground! They were more or less hidden beyond bushes but the typical sounds and white patches of their tails were more than clear signs of what display was going on there. Crawling slowly through the wet grass I got close enough to watch the spectacle – there were 4 males at the same time in the lek site but the calls must have been from more birds.

 

Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix)

IMG_5553PS

In the heather close to me was displaying one single male while the two other were fighting a bit farther from me. While watching the parade I noticed an older woman climbing up the track that led right through the lek site! With astonishment I watched as she stood up close to the tree and took a few pictures of the bird on the tree with her compact digital camera – the bird did not seem to care much! As the woman continued uphill she passed along a bird sitting in the heather that must had been only some 3 meters from the tourist track! Incredible!

 

Is Black Grouse really shy bird???

IMG_5620PS

It was almost 9 in the morning and the Grouses slowly gave up their battles, I crawled back and explored the eastern side of the mountain – there was again one single calling male perching on the top of the tree…

 

 

Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix)

IMG_5659PS

The other day – on Monday morning – I woke up at half past five for a short trip to the same lek site before going to work. I planned to be there before the birds enter the lek site but they usually start very soon, long before dawn so the best tactics would be to overnight at the lek next time. On the way up to the lek I could hear some 4 males burbling along the trail but my goal is the marsh clearing up on the mountain slope. Unfortunately the weather worsened, it was colder and cloudy, which seemed to distract me as well as the birds that were rather silent that day. After waiting for some time I pack up the stuff into the bag and head downhill. The other moment I heard the typical call just a stone cast away – crawling in the grass again and I could see 4 males lekking in the neighbouring patch of heather. Sticking out my head from behind a rock I made a few pictures but that time the birds noticed me and flew away after a while. It is quite clear that this tactics is not ideal for photography and especially for the birds! Next time I will need to set up a tent the evening before and stay on the lek overnight to not to disturb them during their most important time of the year

 

Lekking birds

IMG_5699PS2

My first encounter with Black Grouses was ridiculously easy I must say, but maybe it is just a reward for the last half-year when I was not able to make a decent photograph. I wish to all of you a great spring experiences with birds…

 

Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix)

IMG_5581PS

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Last Updated on Saturday, 16 April 2011 13:41
 
Comments (25)
  • Tomáš Hilger  - Paráda

    No to se někdo má, že je může fotit skoro z kuchyně. Tak koukám že jediný plachý ptáci na světě jsou v ČR.
    Tak ať se ti podaří dostat se blíž, těším se na další fotky. Ahoj Tom

  • Jirka

    Neboj Tome, tady jsou taky plasi, jen tohle je vyjimecne misto..nakonec vsude se najdou mene plasi jedinci jak mi psal Stepan Mikulka a v CR pry jich par take mate tak staci jen sehnat informace a vyrazit :-) Jinak je to tu s ptaky dost podobne jako v Cechach

  • Mecan

    Ahoj Jirko, zážitek i fotky bezva, tohle je příležitost, kterou je nutno využít! Těším se na další!

  • Jirka

    Diky Martine, budu se snazit i kdyz zrovna na me sedl nejaky bacil snad bude behem velikonoc cas to radne zdokumentovat. Jsou sice zvyklejsi na lidi ale zase mi je tam ti ranni turisti budou rusit, nic neni dokonale :-)

  • Miloš Truhlář

    Tak to je nádhera. Hned bych si s tebou vyrazil na Velikonoční procházku. Jen to nemám tak šikovně po ruce - za barákem. Těším se na fotky.

  • Jirka

    Dekuju za navstevu Milosi, jen prijed, vsak Ti jeste dluzim za info o Dovre ;-) Dalsi 2 navstevy se zatim tak nevydarily, dnes v noci jsem tam prespaval a jako na potvoru tokali zrovna o bazinu vedle, nez jsem mel postaveny fotostan tak doufam, ze se jeste neco letos podari, je tu kolem tolik krasnych mist, ze nevim, kam driv...

  • Evžen Takač  - paráda.

    Zdar Jirko, tak kokám, že ti štěstí přeje a to je moc dobře. Musím říct, že takové první setkání bych si také někdy představoval. Fotky jsou fajnové, perfektně zachycují jejich přirozené prostředí. Jen tak dál, kámo.

  • Jirka

    Diky Evzene, stesti preje, jen mu musim chodit trochu naproti - vstavat rano ve 4.00 a splhat se 300 metru do kopce neni uplne moje oblibena cinnost a ze jsem si ji toto jaro uzil :-)

  • pali hradisky  - fajnofka

    Pekne Jirka, ticho závidím. Rád si takéto zážitky čítam a držím palce nech sa Ti darí fotiť :)

  • Jirka

    Diky za navstevu Pali, zatim jsem ty fotky nijak nevylepsil, potreboval bych stabilni kryt, coz je blby, protoze je to frekventovane misto nebo najit jinou lokalitu a to se mi zas nechce plytvat casem kdyz tok uz vrcholi...

  • Miloš Hrdlička

    Ahoj JIrko, hezké povídání a hlavně fotky! Máte tam na severu krásné prostředí, v tom jim to sluší :-) Tady u nás už tok pomalu končí, teplé jaro to asi uspíšilo; takže zase za rok :-) Přeju Dobré světlo! Miloš

  • Jirka

    Ahoj Milosi, dekuji za navstevu. Ted se tu udelalo krasne jaro a tok vrcholi a opravdu je to tu kolem nadherny, jak uz jsem psal, nevim, kam driv skocit! Tetrivci zatim lepsi nebyli ale treba se jeste neco povede nebo zase napresrok...

  • Štěpán

    Ahoj Jirko,

    moc blahopřeji k prvnímu fotografickému úspěchu s tetřívky! Je to nádhera, to probuzení do společného rána s nimi, co:-)? Na to se nedá zapomenout... Měj se fajn. Budu se těšit na další články i fotky.

  • Jirka

    Ahoj Stepane, sam jsem se divil, jak jednoduche to napoprve bylo ale prvni vyhrani z kapsy vyhani, dalsi vylety uz tak uspesne nebyly, zrovna dnes rano jsem se tam splhal skoro zbytecne, je tam moc velky provoz.
    Jo to probouzeni je uzasny, ani jsem nepotreboval budik, za deset 5 me probudilo bublani vedle stanu. Nevim, jak to chodi v Cechach ale tady ted tokaj tak do deviti hodin.

  • Strza  - Strza

    Zdravím, gratuluji ke krásným fotkám a chtěl jsem se zeptat jestli prozradíte jméno toho kopce v Bergenu, kde lze spatřit tyto krasavce. Předem díky

  • J Slama

    Dobry den, to mohu ale jen po mailu, preci jen to nemusi byt uplne verejne i kdyz neni tak slozite si to na internetu najit ;-)

  • Honza Veber

    Ahoj Jirko,
    nádherné fotky i povídání! Blahopřeju!
    Mějte tam na severu krásné jaro a pozdravuj tam ode mne ;-)
    Honza

  • Jirka

    Moc dekuju Honzo, krasne dny i Tobe a Marusce i kdyz takhle opozdene...

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