Black Grouse

About a month ago I was travelling over the Lecht towards my first day of work. My car was struggling with the steep incline, the landscape was blanketed in snow and hung over with low white cloud. It was as pure as a blank canvas, so when five or six of these birds appeared at the side of the road I couldn’t miss them. I had never seen a black grouse before, so I had to slow my car to get a look at these strange squat black birds. It’s getting towards the time of year now when the males congregate and display to assert their dominance over one another before mating with the females. The places where they meet are called ‘leks’ and are great places to get some good photos of the birds in their full glory – we work with Glenlivet Wildlife who run lek safaris, which we are happy to book for you during your stay. The black grouse is labelled ‘Red status’ by the RSPB, meaning that their numbers have severely declined over the last 25 years and they are now globally threatened. We are very lucky here in Tomintoul that numbers in the area are still high so we have the opportunity to see such a rare creature. The Smugglers is a great place to base yourself if you’re interested in catching a glimpse of these birds or any of the fascinating wildlife in the area – keep an eye on our monthly wildlife features for more information.  Alex



Photos courtesy of Glenlivet Wildlife

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