A good location for photographing red grouse in their heather moorland habitat is near Grinton in the Yorkshire Dales. There is one particularly good road where you can photograph them from the comfort of your car, which acts as a mobile hide. My trip here involved a very early start (4am!) to arrive in time for sunrise. The red grouse are most active around sunrise and I was also hoping for some good light. I arrived just in time to see the sun rising over the horizon. It was absolutely beautiful!
It wasn’t long before I spotted some red grouse amongst the heather. They are very well camouflaged and it is sometimes hard to see them. Often the first sight of them is a sudden flurry and loud calling as they fly off across the moor. Driving slowly along the road, I tried to find some that were close enough to photograph and with the light on them. The grouse were not being very obliging for me, but I did like this shot of one facing into the early morning light:
I drove back and forth a number of times getting a few different photos of any grouse I found. The road is not very busy this early in the morning, but you do have to keep an eye out to make sure you are not in the way of any passing traffic. I pulled over as far as I could whilst photographing so that others could pass.
There were also a number of other animals on the moor. I saw a large number of rabbits, although they were too far away to photograph well. There were also some smaller birds and I tried to get a few shots of these. On a previous visit I’ve also seen a stoat, so there are numerous opportunities for wildlife photography here.
If you’d like to get some photographs of red grouse in their natural habitat, this is a good place to go. It is also stunningly beautiful, so would be good for landscapes as well.
Here are some of the photos I took on my recent visit:
|Approximate post code (for sat nav)||DL11 6HS|
|Directions||I’ve found the best part of the road for photographing red grouse is between the car park near YHA Grinton Lodge and the cattle grid at the top of the moor. See the maps below.|
This is the start of the road. There is a small car park at the start to help you identify it:
This is the section of road I found the best for photographing the grouse:
Notes for next time
- Try to photograph some grouse on the dry stone walls
- Bring equipment for landscapes in case the sunrise is as good again!