Sunday, 10 April 2011

Morning grouses, again

Yes. I must be crazy. The alarmclock went off at 2 am. I had slept for about three hours. I turned the coffeepercolator on, to get the caffeine dose my body needed and took the younger dog out for a few minutes. When I got back inside, the coffee was ready and as I sipped my morning cup, I made some tea for my thermos that I was taking with me for the mornings outing. I put the thermos and some sandwiches in my backpack along with the rest of my gear and loaded the whole thing in the car.

A little after three I was at the end of the dirtroad and started skiing towards my hide. After the first hundred meters I got a harsh reminder of how important it is to check EVERYTHING, even for a short outing. This time it was the bind on my ski that broke. I managed a quick fix to it in the middle of the forest. (Detailed description of what happend will be posted later)

As I got closer to the hide, things got rather wet. There was a thin layer of snow on top a thick layer of wet slush and water on top some ice at the swamp. At some places I was lucky that my boots were long enough. The hide had stayed dry, but was surrounded on three sides by very deep water. All I could do was hope that the whole thing would not slide off the small mound it was sitting on.

I got into the hide and put on warm clothing and set up my gear. Then I had nothing to do but wait and have some tea and sandwiches. It was 4:35 am. that I had everything set up. Since I had nothing better to do, I put a few short updates for the folks at home on how things are going thru FaceBook on my mobile.

As the sun began to rise, there was enough light that I could see out of the hide. The sunrise was not as clear as I had hoped for, the thin layer of clouds gave the sunrise a gray/bluish tone instead of the yellow or orange that I wanted:
I was feeling a bit cold and maybe that is why I was also somewhat frustrated. I was starting to wonder if this would be one more entry in the long line of "I went but got no pictures" trips. Just as there was enough light to start seriously thinking of taking pictures a few grouses and some lapwings landed close to the hide:
The grouses made a lot of noise and strutted around quite a bit, but no real confrontations took place. The pecking order seemed to be clear to everyone:
All of a sudden, all the birds flew away. I spotted them landing several hundreds of meters from the hide. I was thinking of packing my gear and heading for home, when more and more grouses started landing, until there were about twenty birds around my hide. Soon lapwings arrived in great numbers also:
This second set of grouses was really active and skirmishes erupted all the time as the birds fought for the best spots:
After the grouses had had enough, the "clean up crew" arrived and seemed to be very interested in the spots where the toughest battles had been fought:
I'll post more pictures of the morning when I have had a chance to look thru all of the pictures I took.

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