We meet at the Ballpark in Gillies Bay at 10:00am
There was no hike last week. Towards the end of a hike earlier in the month we had almost got back to the vehicles when we noticed a female grouse with some chicks in the dry grass at the roadside. The chicks ran off in different directions as we approached and the mother felt we were too much of a threat to be ignored. She took to the air and launched an airborne attack almost hitting one of us before eventually landing on a branch where she could keep an eye on us. Meanwhile the chicks had disappeared into the underbrush and the mother soon became calm making it quite easy for me to get this nice shot from below.
I always wondered why our only species of grouse is called Blue Grouse when there appeared to me to be nothing blue about the bird at all. The neck skin patches that I once saw on a male during mating season were orange coloured, but it seems that the males of this species living east of the rockies have purple coloured neck patches.
The female Blue Grouse that stoutly defended her chicks from the attacking hikers.