One evening this past December, just after sunset I was stacking wood by one of our chalets when I heard strange noises overhead – rustlings, flapping, scraping. Looking up I saw largish, dark bird shapes gathering in a treetop nearby – swish, here comes another one! Apart from the flapping, not a sound, just a quiet coming together high up – for safety? protection? assembling after a day apart? I am no birder, but I wonder: do they spend the night up there?
Later, after dark I head back, curious to see if they’re still up there – in the near full moon light I see they’ve left.
In the weeks that followed, I often thought about these birds, wondering what they were, where they were now, looking for them at dusk. We did on occasion come across a Cape Breton ruffed grouse or two, roaming the property – brown speckled birds, about the same size as the ones I saw gathering in the tree. They seemed quite tame, walking through the now empty garden beds, pecking at the few leftover greens, flying off only when Cosmo spotted and chased them. But I was never quite sure they were the same type of bird I saw that evening.
Until a couple of days ago, when near dusk, looking out a window we saw a flock of birds gathering in a tree just in front of the lodge deck. They were indeed the ruffed grouse we’ve been seeing around.
We managed to get our cameras – enjoy the series of pictures captured by Bernard!
Photos by Bernard LeFort