Author Topic: Spellbound by spruce grouse  (Read 284 times)

Gil Aegerter

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Spellbound by spruce grouse
« on: January 22, 2023, 22:29:41 »
I was skiing down through the fog on Big Mountain in Montana when I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. A grouse was sifting through the snow around the barest protruding branch. I slid over to see if I could photograph it, but it scurried a short distance away. Then I saw several other of the birds in the area. Two were up in a tree a short distance away and I realized that if I contoured around the slope I would be at eye level and about 15 feet away. I moved very slowly toward them, stopping to cluck and talk to them. They did not fly, and after I spent a few minutes photographing them, another flew into a tree, then another. Finally a fifth flew in -- apparently too much, and two flew away to break the spell. After a half an hour, I bid them goodbye.

The next day, I went back to the same spot and found one a few feet up in a tree. Another was nearby but nervously scuttled out of sight. I slowly made my way toward the tree and stopped about 15 feet from the bird that remained. I sat down in the snow, intending to photograph just that one, and it graciously posed. But soon I saw a movement beyond the tree to the right and another grouse popped up and sat watching me. Then there was movement to the left and another appeared and checked me out. I clucked at it and it started moving slowly toward me, stopping occasionally to peck at a fir branch or examine the snow at its feet. It came closer and closer and finally jumped on a low branch about 8 feet in front of me. It was finding something to eat in the tips of the fir branches, but it would stop and preen and look at me. Finally, a fourth grouse popped up from behind a snow bank 6 feet away. I wanted this spell to last, but after 45 minutes sitting in the snow, the cold became too much, and I had to offer my farewells. 

The single birds were taken with a Nikon D5500 and a Nikkor 18-140mm. The last two images were with a D780 and a 24-85mm lens.



Ashlandish

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Re: Spellbound by spruce grouse
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2023, 03:39:31 »
What a wonderful experience that must have been!
Tim Becraft

John Geerts

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Re: Spellbound by spruce grouse
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2023, 14:47:13 »
Beautiful and a great story,  thanks for sharing

Kim Pilegaard

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Re: Spellbound by spruce grouse
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2023, 23:09:10 »
Great encounter!
Kim

Ian Watson

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Re: Spellbound by spruce grouse
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2023, 23:46:18 »
What a wonderful encounter and great photographs!

Thomas Stellwag

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Re: Spellbound by spruce grouse
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2023, 15:18:00 »
thanks for the story and the pictures
Thomas Stellwag

Nasos Kosmas

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Re: Spellbound by spruce grouse
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2023, 20:37:49 »
Very nice story, birds are wonderful  :)

Akira

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Re: Spellbound by spruce grouse
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2023, 00:48:32 »
Thank you for sharing your rare fortunate experience!  Both the description and the images are impressive.
"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

"Limitation is inspiration." - Akira