In total we visited 5 different locations where the local guides had encountered several individuals of the Hasezl Grouse the last weeks or even years. The last encounter sometimes was only 3 days before. 4 of the locations were locations like a lek – where you could hear the mating song and the mating wing beat and one location was a dust-bathing location. Only one location of one day was productive in terms of photography but the results of the Hazel Grouse – shots you see in the gallery. Furthermore there were more encounters but there was one encounter – more or less by accident – of 3 individuals disturbed while they were at the dust-bathing location. The rest but one was only audible encounters. The attempt to approach the Hazel Grouse at the dust-bathing location again, using the car as a hide, was not successful. In general the impression was, that the mating season was already quite low. This may be due to the fact that the winter in 2014 in Slovakia had not been severe (as in the rest of Europe) and temperatures on some days had already risen to springtime degrees. This might have reduced the mating behavior of the Hazel Grouse as the male reduce his efforts in mating when he has found his spouse.
The area is excellent for other birds – especially Woodpeckers, Eagles and other raptors too, but the Hazel Grouse was my target bird no. 1!
So after spending the 1st morning without Hazel Grouse-results in the forest in the Chočské vrchy (english: Choč Mountains), I tried one after another destination, Milos showed me. There was no morning in the whole week, when I was not sitting for hours in the hide. So one experience of the trip is that one of the main ingredients is PATIENCE!
For long I have been looking for Hazel Grouse (Bonasa bonasia). Sightings – or even photos – from more than one Hazel Grouse subspecies were my dream. I’ve been days walking in the Alps, in the Eifel, Westerwald, Taunus, in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. I was hiking in many places, but up to that point I missed an image of this forest dweller in Middle Europe.
For the one, who is interested in literature to deepen his knowledge of the Hazel Grouse prior of searching it the following articles/ books (sorry all in German) are highly recommended:
ASCH, T. & G. MÜLLER (1989): Haselwild in Baden-Württemberg. – Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald (Hrsg.). This leaflet gives an excellent help and many details.
GLUTZ VON BLOTZHEIM, U. & K. M. BAUER (1994): Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas. – Band 5, pp 31-70, The standard handbook for those, more interested in all aspects of behavior, description, biotopes etc. pp.
LIESER, M. & K. ROTH (2001): Haselhuhn. – In: HÖLZINGER (Hrsg.) Die Vögel Baden-Württembergs. Nicht-Singvögel 2. – Ulmer Verlag. Stuttgart, pp 16-33. A handbook of the regional avifauna for those interested in aspects of behavior, description, biotopes but also some regional distribution details.
In order to meet the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic, Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western Palearctic. Trips to remote places like this one to capture images of rare birds of western Palearctic were very successful. The nice image of the blog is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Picture- Shop” very soon. Just give me a message, if I could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.
Other successful shootings you can see under: www.bird-lens.com in the pictures shop.