Close Encounter of the Sooty Grouse Kind

We visited Mount Rainier National Park over the weekend, and after driving up to the Paradise visitor center, opted for a short hike to Snow Lake. The trail was still partially snow-covered but was absolutely beautiful, thick with blooming Avalanche Lilies and providing stunning views of the mountain (I’d been to the park once before, but on an overcast day when the peak was lost in clouds).

DSC_0896 (1024x678)

On the way down, a grouse unexpectedly walked out onto the trail in front of us. Unlike Ruffed Grouse, which in my experience flush as soon as they hear you coming so that all you ever see is their tails as they fly away, this male Sooty Grouse (a lifer for me) was remarkably unconcerned by our presence as he pecked at the vegetation.

DSC_0886 (1024x678)

DSC_0890 (1024x678)

We also got to see a female when one flew across the road and perched in a hemlock tree by the trailhead, where she appeared to be eating the needles.

DSC_0817 (1024x679)

All in all a great bird to conclude two weekend of travel on the west side with!

Photos (once again) by Evan Heisman.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Close Encounter of the Sooty Grouse Kind”

Comments = love!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s