May 2, 2017

Why Grouse?

Prelude

On this spring overcast morning I visited a grove of spruce trees on Dodge Road known to harbor owls. On arrival I could hear the complaints of a mob of crows, and after a short walk along the road my ThermApp found this hotspot:



My binoculars confirmed it to be a Great Horned Owl. Alas, in spite of its being well hidden position pretty deep and high in the woods, it seemed not to like my attention and took off before I could get a photograph.

Ruffed Grouse

I drove on to Monkey Run South, an area where a ruffed grouse had been displaying very loudly for the past few weeks, though after an initial sighting by some lucky birders it managed to stay invisible in the thickets. But it could not hide from my ThermApp, which soon found this warm lump in the forest floor:



Here's a closeup:



And here's a video of the lump skulking away from view:



I walked around to find it hiding at a different spot, this time closer to the trail but in even thicker brush:



This bird could be heard drumming loudly each time I was out of view, but never when I was able to see it even with the thermal. If I want footage of its drumming I'll need to get set up in a blind.

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