Friday, April 26, 2013

Why did the grouse cross the road?

The eternal grouse question for birders in North Carolina is more typically "why can't I ever see one?"  And for folks who don't live in the mountains, a grouse sighting is usually cause for some celebration.  Last weekend Mark K. and I enjoyed a bit of a grouse party along Clingman's Dome Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A Ruffed Grouse showing off its "ruff"

 We talked to some Appalachian Trail hikers, who said there was lots of drumming going on and while walking a trail looking for salamanders I noticed one a mere 20 feet ahead of me wandering along the forest floor.  I just missed getting a pretty stellar grouse shot (stupid twig).
Ruffed Grouse

Watching a grouse from such short range and then have it trot across the road like a chicken was quite a sight (and the inspiration for this post's title).
Ruffed Grouse crossing the road
I'm no authority, but for those Carolina birders still trying to find a grouse (and I know a few), it sure seems like checking out Clingman's Dome Road on an afternoon in April is the way to go!