Red Grouse, Cairngorms, Scotland by David Oldham

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I enjoyed a marvellous week of wildlife photography in the Cairngorms in January and was looking forward to returning to the same spots in the Summer heather, so arranged to go back in August during the Summer covid lull when we were able to travel again. I was blown away by how spectacular the flowering heather was on the Scottish hills and spent several mornings using the car as a hide to photograph red grouse in the pink heather. I'd had some great encounters with the grouse over the first few visits to the moor, but then on the fourth morning, I came across a family of several grouse very close to the roadside and spent an hour or two with them as they popped their heads up above the heather and moved slowly around the same patch of the moor feeding on the plants. Red grouse can be very timid but this family seemed extremely relaxed, so much so that I was able to move the car and get out so that I could photograph them from a lower viewpoint from the side of the road and from different angles as the sun appeared and disappeared behind the clouds. All in all, a very rewarding experience which I hope to be able to repeat on future visits to this part of the world.

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