About two weeks ago I was out birding in one of my favorite song bird locations when I heard the drumming of a Ruffed Grouse. During the spring of the year if you are out for a hike/walk in the woods you may have heard this sound as well but like myself have probably never seen the act itself.
On this particular morning (with no real song birds around to photography) I decided to investigate the drumming a little further. Upon finally narrowing down the sound I was able to locate the Grouse in a dense area with a fallen tree that he was using to drum on. I sat and watched him from a distance and scanned the area to see if there was any possible way of photographing him. Behind him a noticed light filtering through and a hint of a clearing. I made my way by circling wide out around the area he was drumming and found a way through the trees and into the small opening. With out disturbing him I left with a plan to return in a few days with my blind.
This past weekend I made my return; about 15 mins before sunrise I found myself scrambling to get setup before the Grouse returned to its log to begin drumming. Below are some cell phone images of my blind setup after my session was finished
As you can see there is a lot of blown over trees and one in particular I used to help conceal my appearance. In the second image above you can see at the top of the image you can see the fallen, bark stripped tree that it was using.
Not even 10 mins after getting setup the Grouse showed up, hoped up from behind the tree and took center stage. In the image below he had just finished drumming and its neck feathers were spread out adding some nice interest to the photo.
He would perform his routine around every 5-10 mins. Below I took advantage of the low light situation and captured the wing motion as it was drumming (shutter speed was at 1/100s)
For those of you that have never had the opportunity to see a Ruffed Grouse Drumming I invite you to check out the below clip which I captured that morning.
With the sound of a near by ATV coming down a path the grouse hopped off its log. I took the opportunity to get out of my blind and pack up my gear before it return. I had spent two hours with this grouse capturing many images but most of them looked very similar to the ones above so I wont bore you with them. All in all it was a wonderful encounter and so much fun watching this Ruffed Grouse.