This week’s photo, taken June 15, 2014 in Yakima County, WA, features our second RUFFED GROUSE of the day.
It’s day 3 of the 2014 Washington Ornithological Society conference, and the lead driver of our 4-car convoy has just noticed a RUFFED GROUSE up ahead on the gravel road. When all vehicles stop, I step out of our car to snap some photos, but the skittish chicken-like bird immediately explodes into the air and flies away. My one photo shows an over-exposed, blurry and downright lousy depiction of a grouse during lift-off. Nevertheless, it’s the best photo I’ve ever taken of this elusive species – because it’s the ONLY photo I’ve ever taken of this species.
A few miles later, we spot another Ruffed Grouse in the road, and this one has attitude. Instead of flying away, it stands its ground and seems to dare us to approach. But before we can make our move, a guy – who is not part of our group – makes his own move. No longer willing to wait in his pick up truck behind our last car, he steps on the gas and begins to pass our stopped caravan and head up the road. We figure that the grouse will fly for sure, but to everyone’s surprise and relief, it stays put as the truck rolls by.
With renewed hope for better looks and finer photos, we creep forward in our cars, a short distance at a time. Each time we stop and get out, you can hear rapid fire camera clicks from the paparazzi among us. Eventually, the bird runs across the road and disappears into the brush.
So, why’d the chicken cross the road? To get away from us, that’s why.
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