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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Grouse in the Dales

Just before the grouse season started in August,I decided to take a run over to the dales, to see if I could capture a few images of these moorland birds.The heather was well on its way to being in bloom and it would make for an enjoyable day.

Heather is the staple food source for red grouse and this summer there seemed to be a bumper crop.

Like most species the red grouse is in decline,due to loss of habitat,over 40% of heather moorland has been lost to overgrazing and commercial forestry.Up here in the Yorkshire Dales the moorland is managed by large estates so that the Grouse can flourish and provide sport for the shooting fraternity!

This party were feeding on the young shoots of the heather.

Soon these heather clad moors will be ringing with the sounds of the shotgun as shooting syndicates take up position on the hillsides!

It was quite challenging trying to get close to the Grouse.I found the best way was to sit and wait and eventually a few birds would come within range.Any sudden movements and they were airbourne with an explosion of wings and the familiar ¬go back go back go back call!

There were plenty of youngsters amongst the heather,hardly surprising really,due to the excellent weather we had throughout spring and summer!

A pair of Buzzard were riding the thermals and constantly kept patrolling the ridges,no doubt they take young grouse ,much to the annoyance of the keepers.I`m surprised I actually saw them there with it being a managed moor,these must have been the lucky ones dont you think!
It really was worth the effort to go over to the dales and be in the company of the Grouse.I just wonder how many of those same birds are left now as November approaches!

Thanks again for dropping by and now that I`m back on the blooging theme after a short lay off.more of my escapades in the country will follow shortly!

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