Men in Black

Sunday; I had been wanting to go somewhere in particular for a while to see a particular bird. Dad was free in the morning so this meant I had to get up earlier than I usually would on a Sunday, 8:30. Into the car at 9:00 and off to our destination. I have to be vague about location so all I’ll say is I saw a flock of Lapwing heading towards Gladhouse sort of area, which is really nice to see as it means spring should be on it’s way, I hope. Also passed a flock of finches in a field which I think was mainly Linnet but I probably should have checked as they could’ve been Twite, a bird I am yet to see, or Brambling, a much needed year tick. Oh well.
I can tell you that we were heading to the Moorfoot Hills but not where in the hills. All will become clear soon…
In the hills the first bird was a Red Grouse on a fence post. I continued to see a lot of Red Grouse through out the day. I got out the car at this point to have a quick scan of the moors to look for the “particular bird”. No luck but a couple of Kestrels flew over, one landing in the grassland near the road.

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Moved on a bit down the road and saw yet more Red Grouse but no “particular bird”. On even further and I saw something on the grassland on the side of the hill. Dad stopped the car and I put my bins up to my face, hopeful that I’d seen what I thought I’d seen. And sure enough… The men in black had appeared. Or at least one, with his lady.

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IMG_5074 Black Grouse is the “particular bird” that I’d been hoping for. Not great views but I was happy and the grouse disappeared over the horizon.
Dad and I then went on a walk across the moorland and grassland and got to see a couple of Meadow Pipits, quite a lot if Skylarks, and even more Red Grouse. Here are the better photos I got:

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IMG_5081 Female Red Grouse

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IMG_5086 Male Red Grouse

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IMG_5088 Skylark? I’m not sure about this one as it looks like it has pretty rufous coloured wings…

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IMG_5090 Definitely a Skylark

IMG_5024 And finally a landscape shot. It was a bit snowy but not bad as the sun was up high in a blue sky.
I asked dad if we could go a bit further into the hills to see if any more Black Grouse could be found. No luck. Did see a couple of Fieldfare and three Buzzards though, this one hunting over the hill tops.

IMG_5091 And another landscape shot from the car.

IMG_5092 Driving back home we had great views of more Red Grouse from the car.

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IMG_5094 Near where we first saw the Black Grouse, dad saw a grouse on a mound and we stopped just by the mound to suddenly have 4 BLACK GROUSE fly directly over the car and into the valley below. Then one flew over me after I’d gotten out the car and dotted down not far from the road, giving me amazing views of a bird that I’ve wanted to see ever since I knew they were near-ish to my dad’s house.

IMG_5095 2 of the 4 that flew over the car, in the valley below.

IMG_5096 12x zoom on my camera gave me this picture, but combining with my scope I got these…

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IMG_5104 Simply awesome. I think this is going to be the next bird I sketch. It is beautiful. I think the one I digiscoped near the car is an immature male as it didn’t have the red bit above the eye, called a comb. Still a brilliant bird. And my first lifer of the year, a great bird to start of this year. I’m running out of adjectives here so I’ll stop this post here 🙂

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Men in Black

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