perjantai 1. toukokuuta 2015

Black Grouse Lek

I was standing and listening on a top of a snowy hill. Sun would rise in half an hour and nature was still completely silent. In the horizon there was a promising element of light, the new day was breaking through. I had skied in the darkness half a kilometer from my car, then stopped to listen. The skiing in seventy-five centimeter (two and a half feet) deep snow was so hard that I had to wait for a while for my breath to become steady only then could I listen to anything. The morning was calm and clear, in such circumstances it´s possible to hear Black grouse lek even from four kilometers distance. I listened attentively but only heard distant sounds of a Black woodpecker and as usual some ravens. I knew somewhere nearby there would be a lekking site. Leks always take place at open areas such as fields and swamps. I kept on skiing in unbroken deep snow and at the same time tried to hear some lekking sounds. Those particular sounds are continuous bubbling vocalisation and guttural hiss, they are very important elements of the lek. I was heading to a snow covered meadow which was likely to be the display site. Quite soon, just after sunrise, I heard those familiar sounds. I skied a little bit closer and sat down to wait for the show to be over so I could mount my hide there for the next morning. In an hour it  was over and all the birds had flown away. I continued closer into the edge of the woods into dense bushes and found a perfect spot for my tent hide. Next morning with the aid of the darkness I would be back well before Black grouses.
That next morning was cloudy and misty. During the night the temperature had dropped below freezing point and due to the warm day it caused mist. But once again you can´t choose the weather and it´s always challenging to photograph in different situations. I waited anxiously for the birds to arrive and then suddenly, in a blink of an eye, they were there!
The lek was absolutely stunning with all those sounds and posturing, jumping and fighting. The males spread their long, curving, black tail feathers into wide, imposing fans. At the same time the females were sitting on the tree tops and enjoying the show just like me.

In the third morning the weather was much better, temperature just over freezing point and partly cloudy skies. Beautiful morning, fantastic light and the lek on its full!!

Such magnificent mornings at Kuntivaara in Kuusamo. I felt so pleased, packed my gears and stuff and skied back to my car via a small lake, which was only partly ice covered because of the flowing waters. Whooper swans had found that open water spot and I took advantage and shot some photos. 


1 kommentti: