Saturday, October 20, 2012

Grouse, Nuthatches, Rusty Blackbirds and Fox Sparrows of the Vermilon River.

 It's been a while since I've posted a series that was not about a hike. This one deals with primarily the Ruffled Grouse, but some other birds as well; some in fact that are fairly rare, and even a new sighting for me.

Boom and I were hiking the ridge directly behind us. As I mentioned earlier this has been made possible by a new trail. The photo opposite shows one of the old trails, way too rugged for me.
 We used this trail (opposite photo) in past years. Boom would pull me up the rock, but he's ten now and a little old for that. We found a trail off to the side which is easier for us.

A post to: I'd Rather Be Birdin',Our World Tuesday, and Wild Bird Wednesday. Click any to redirect. REMEMBER CLICK ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE AND WATCH THE SLIDE SHOW, BUT I SUGGEST YOU READ THE COPY.




The trails in this area run through stands of black spruce shown opposite so if you leave the trail, you're in thick brush, and gnarly grasping tree limbs. Boom handles it well, but with a backpack and camera  I can get hung up fairly easily, and that happened repeatedly pursuing the grouse.


Red blueberry patch



 The English language is flexible and sometimes mystifying. Locally the Ruffled Grouse is called a "partridge", but it is not.

There is a grey partridge here but it is an import not a native.

The Ruffled Grouse comes in two morphs, red and grey. All these ones are red morphs, I think.






Their camouflage is excellent as you can see from the photos. He's standing in the trail and until you're close, he's hard to see. By the time you react, he's taken off in an explosion of sound which will startle you. You'll also find him on tree branches as you'll see in the photos.


 The bird weighs 500-600 grams, is 25-30 cm. in height, and has a wing span of 50 cm tip to tip.

The male is territorial, and drums to attract females.

They are active in the winter using scales on their toes as a type of snowshoe.

All this information is courtesy of Cornell Labs, Wikipedia and Nature North.


Standing in the trail.

Close up in the trees

On the trail

In full feathers

On the trail

Close up.

Showing ruffles and tail feather.



 Here he is in the tree. We went into the brush after him. Boom is lying down quietly, and I'm tangled in branches and brush on the forest floor.
Close up.

Distribution Courtesy of Cornell Labs.



 The Ruffled Grouse is only one of the resident grouse. The other is the Spruce Grouse. Opposite is the male and below the female. Courtesy of Cornell Labs.

They're here, but so far we've not managed to get any keeper photos. Shooting in thick forest is hard.


Female-note the lack of head comb.

I've been watching for Rusty Blackbirds,and caught this one on the west side of the River. They're under stress from the tar sands, and water hydro development in eastern Canada in the Boreal Forest.


 Boom and I caught this Rose-breasted Nuthatch.






 This sparrow is a first for me. I'm pretty certain it's a fox sparrow.
Fox Sparrow.

Nuthatch

68 comments:

  1. Birds are my favorite critters. They are beautiful, most of them sing, they hurt nothing, and make me smile..I love these photo's..

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  2. Excellent slide show! These are great captures. That trail does look rugged.

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  3. Your words and photos have taken me on a virtual hike in your beautiful area, super bird pics,does Boomer walk very quietly too?? Cheers from Jean

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  4. the grouse shots are awesome! really nice, gary!

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  5. Love the colors of the Fall and those birds are beautiful.

    Pony Ride
    Have a fabulous weekend.

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  6. Galliformes are such drama queens, always seeking attention with their feathers and shouts :)

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  7. Excellent captures! That ruffled grouse is a new one for me. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Fantastic photos ! I love photographing nature ! I love just walking in the woods as well and seeing what I can capture , there is so much out there . I like to use this bird website if I see or photograph a bird a bird I am not sure about . http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/search
    Have a good day !

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  9. Wow Gary -- thanks for going through all this and sharing it...that's a rugged bit of birding! And the grouse is wonderful. Years ago, we went to Burns Oregon to a Birding Festival and saw sage grouse doing their mating dance. That was amazing (but we were taken in a car and led to a good spot)...of course this was pre-digital, pre-blog. I can only imagine the joy of finding these birds on your own. (And as rugged as that trail sounds, it will have to remain in my imagination!) Thanks for sharing..loved the other birds too (nuthatches are charming!)

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  10. Hi Gary

    I loved your shots of the grouse. There are lots at the cabin I hear them drumming, a favorite sound, but have not managed a decent photo. I was impressed that you got so many especially with all the twigs.

    Regards
    Guy

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  11. Great photos. We had a Nuthatch at our bird feeder 5 minutes ago!
    Have a nice day!

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  12. That's a smart looking grouse Gary- nice shots.

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  13. Hi Gary, the grouse shots are awesome!
    Beautiful nature scenes.

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  14. love the shots of the grouse. Such lovely birds. We don´t have them.

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  15. Mmmmmmm, love that series of grouse images Gary!!! I can see they're not down my way, so this was an extra special treat.

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  17. Beautiful place with such lovely birds.

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  18. I, too, love the grouse and all of your birds are beautiful as always, Gary!! Have a great week!

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  19. Our young sons are avid rough grouse hunters... We have an abundance of them on our property & in the area.
    They are beautiful birds, and I feel a bit guilty as I look at your stunning photos, that we ate a crock pot full of them for dinner last night. Our kids call them "wild chicken".. we are big advocates of eating wild, rather than farmed food, and grouse make up a large part of our meat group.
    We have enjoyed seeing those spruce grouse while up in your further northern region! We don't have them here.

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  20. Cool sighting and photos of the Grouse! They are neat birds. Great post, Gary!

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  21. Wow! So many great and beautiful photos!

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  22. Excellent photos, as usual. Gary, thanks for the great pics of the Grouse!

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  23. The Ruffled Groiuse are stunning birds, what a fabulous post.

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  24. Fantastic shots of the birds and autumn landscapes!

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  25. Just perfect post again I did not know this cheerful Ruffled Grouse at all, thank you for teaching me :)

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  26. birding is really good in your neck of the woods.

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  27. Wow... how wonderful this is all available to you. Great pics.

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  28. The red berries are amazing. Love seeing the many birds in freedom. Please have a good Tuesday.

    daily athens photo

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  29. Hi Gary! I think I am in love with the nuthatch! It's such a beauty, but the grouse is also worthwhile observing! Thanks for sharing.

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  30. Ruffled Grouse Delicious, very good definition with beautiful colors.

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  31. Absolutely wonderful series of grouse pictures.

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  32. Another lovely series. The red leaves of the blueberry patch are gorgeous.

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  33. Hi Gary, I have enjoyed your story with the pictures so much... loved it... specially about the grouse!
    Warm greetings, Anna

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  34. The grouse is a good looking bird. nice pictures

    Stewart M - Australia

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  35. Great country and birds Gary. Sorry I haven't been around for a while. Hard for me to get bird shots except from home. Can't get any shoes on my bandaged legs to go for interesting walks.
    So wonderful to see your beautiful birds.

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  36. Great series, Gary. I especially like those grouse shots. I have yet to see one-- I moved south too early in life!

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  37. Have missed a few weeks, but I come back and your photos instantly soothe me! Lovely Gary.

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  38. Fantstic images and info Gary...

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  39. Love the shots of the grouse. Such an interesting bird. Lovely as always to go along for the hike!

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  40. My second comment: Just again to urge anyone who sees this post to look at it in the slide show format too. You have some incredible pictures.

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  41. the grouse such an intruiging and beautiful bird; lovely photographs and the extras also were enjoyed too

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  42. The Rose Breasted Nuthatch is a lovely bird.

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  43. As I commented when I was here the other day for Bird D'Pot....I love the beautiful grouse images Gary

    Hootin' Anni
    and
    I'd Rather B Birdin - Egret taking to flight

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  44. A great series of photos - the Ruffled Grouse is a beautiful bird.

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  45. Excellant grouse shots.You got so many too. I've never seen a Spruce grouse.Beautiful bird!

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  46. really enjoyed the grouse and the nuthatch photos. cheers.

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  47. I didn't know that blueberry bush leaves turn red. Very lovely.

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  48. Love the "ruffle" !! and RB Nuthatches just steal my heart!

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  49. Excellent post, Gary. I have only seen ruffled grouse at a distance so I am envious of your photos. s for the spruce grouse, I have never seen one although I understand there are a few in Algonquin Park so I know I'll see one some day!

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  50. Another fabulous post! Ruffled Grouse which is stretching the neck is so cute!
    keiko

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  51. You always have such wonderful collections!
    Love seeing the pictures.

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  52. What a bird collection and even a little punk !

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  53. Nice photos and interesting to read about this bird!
    Greetings Pia

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  54. How do you manage to find all these birds!
    Amazing captures :)

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  55. I could sit and look at your pictures all day! I love the fox sparrows especially - they look little dudes!

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  56. That ruffled grouse is simply astonishing and wonderful Gary. Your pictures of it are brilliant.....Well done!

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  57. I love spotting these birds. I just don't manage to get photos of them!
    Cheers from Cottage Country!

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  58. Gary, just found your blog and love it! This post really took me back. I'm a Florida native and found myself in upstate New York one year. Hiking in the woods I almost stepped on a Ruffed Grouse and that "explosion of sound" you described almost gave me a heart attack!
    Looking forward to reviewing your posts.

    -Wally

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  59. Oh to see such beauty as our images of the Ruffed Grouse. These are all jut terrific Gary...very well done, add in the Nuthatch and that gorgeous Fox Sparrow at the end...marvelous series~

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  60. Wonderful photos of birds and scenery! The Rose-breasted Nuthatch is rather beautiful.

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  61. Great shots. I always like the variety of pics you show. You live in a great area. MB

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  62. Love your captures of the male partridge!

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