Forestry Friday … The Grousing Grouse

Dusky grouse, blue grouse, grouse, birding, pen and ink, nature

Dusky Grouse

This pen and ink of a dusky grouse was inspired from a trip to the high country last summer. I always knew this bird as the blue grouse, but in recent years the name was changed to dusky grouse.

Blue grouse, dusky grouse, grouse, photography, nature wildlife, scenic

This is dusky grouse country.

Dusky grouse stay in the high country all winter. They survive off by eating fir needles.

Blue grouse, dusky grouse, grouse, photography, nature wildlife, scenic

The Trinity Mountains

I was in the Trinity Mountains of northern California when I came upon a covey of grouse crossing a little logging spur road. So I stopped and started taking pictures. Grouse are funny chicken like birds. They’re very tolerant of trucks and equipment. You can get quite close to them in a vehicle, but not if you’re on foot. They will hide, run or fly. 

Blue grouse, dusky grouse, grouse, photography, nature wildlife, scenic

A Dusky grouse sneaking through the underbrush.

These birds have given me near death experiences numerous times over the years. They will often hold tight hidden in the underbrush where they blend right into the cover. I’ve nearly stepped on a few only to have them explode out of the bushes, practically giving me a heart attack. 

Blue grouse, dusky grouse, grouse, photography, nature wildlife, scenic

What are you grousing about!

In our neck of the woods, grouse live in the high country, typically over 5000 feet elevation. In the coastal redwood and Douglas-fir forests, where it is cooler, they live quite low in elevation.

Blue grouse, dusky grouse, grouse, photography, nature wildlife, scenic

It’s pretty up here with the grouse.

Blue grouse, dusky grouse, grouse, photography, nature wildlife, scenic

What did the grouse say?

Male grouse make a loud booming call that rumbles through the spring woods.

Blue grouse, dusky grouse, grouse, photography, nature wildlife, scenic

Apparently, she said she was leaving.

Blue grouse, dusky grouse, grouse, photography, nature wildlife, scenic

Grouse will feed in logging units like this one when the grasses and forbs begin to grow.

Interestingly, grouse aren’t particularly bothered by logging.  I’ve seen them watching the big equipment roll by with curiosity.

Blue grouse, dusky grouse, grouse, photography, nature wildlife, scenic

Using her camouflage magic to blend in.

Since many of you are suffering through the great Arctic vortex, I thought it might be good to put up some nice summer pictures. When the weather gets hot in the valley, there’s nothing like going to work in the high country. The upper elevations temperatures will be in the 70s or 80s. Up there spring lasts into the early summer. 

Blue grouse, dusky grouse, grouse, photography, nature wildlife, scenic

A little Spring bloom to warm up the coldest Winter day.

I hope this gave you all a little bit of sunshine amongst the snow clouds. These are a few of the flowers that were blooming that day. 

Tiger lily, Trinity mountains, wildflowers

Nothing says Spring like a tiger lily.

Blitz says she can’t wait for grouse season to get here! Oh, by the way did I mention they’re delicious.

Blitz, golden retriever

“Is that a grouse I see?”

Disclaimer   No grouse were eaten during the making of this post.

55 thoughts on “Forestry Friday … The Grousing Grouse

  1. That’s a beautiful drawing, Tim. We have ruffed grouse here all year long and they do give a me that near death experience.when they fly up. Everything seems a little more real for a few minutes after that. In the spring the male ruffed grouse make a drumming sound that starts slow and speeds up, like a starting engine that can be heard for a long distance.
    Thanks for your forestry posts, Tim!.

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    • We’ve been quite warn while the rest of the country is frozen. It’s been in the 60s and 70s here lately, but we are in dire need of rain. The nice weather is very pleasant, but we will pay for it next summer.

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      • We’re paying for lack of rain and high temperatures today, Tim. Homes in the Perth hills are burning AS I WRITE. There are several big fierce fires burning. Yesterday was 111 F (or 44 C) and today not that high but still very hot. I live close to the coast so am unaffected personally but it is terribly sad to hear about. People are rushing about trying to find temporary homes for their horses. Then there is the wildlife…and so far one man is known to have died. All today.

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        • I’m so sorry about the heat and fires that folks down your way are dealing with. I totally understand, because we have the same fire situation and heat here in the summer. We’ll keep you all in our prayers.

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  2. Great grouse pix! I like the streaming ones, heehee. I understand the heart attack delivery method of some hiding animals. Gaa! I can’t take too many blasts to the ticker like that…Blitz looked like he’s fresh from a swim or bad hair day. 🐶

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  3. For a short while I saw myself walking in the Trinity mountains I didn’t even know to exist before; and I felt very, very lucky. From the photos I guess it is a vast and wild area where one can get lost for some long and nice time 🙂

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  4. Love your dusky grouse Tim .. wonder what warranted the name change … perhaps it’s because ones face turns that shade with the ‘near death experience’ as they explode from the undergrowth LOL

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  5. Lovely drawing of the grouse. I sympathize with the “grouse scare” experience. I never had that with a bird, but one time years ago I was blackberry picking with Brandy, my pyrenees/lab mix at the woods edge. When we stopped at a nice area that encircled some low scrub, a large antlered buck exploded out of his resting place in the thicket, trailing berry vines from his many tines. I think all three of us just about had a heart attack, including the deer. Brandy even forgot to woof at him as he ran away. LOL I bet Blitz reacts much better than any of us. Does she chase them?

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    • She’ll flush the birds when she finds them, but fortunately she doesn’t chase deer. I too once had a buck jump out of a blackberry thicket. He came out behind me. He startled me, but in that case I was tracking him, so I wasn’t too startled. He ran off.

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