“As one door closes another one opens”. So the old saying goes. And so it seems to be with nature photography. After watching a slow-burner of a build up to heather peaking, its demise has been somewhat rapid. Swathes of resplendent pink and purple flowers seem to have gone over in the blink of an eye. Now I’m faced with swathes of dull and lifeless looking heather, with only an occasional small patch of nice looking flowers to be found.
However, after a summer of keeping a low profile, red grouse are becoming very active, at least in the early mornings. Male birds are beginning to ‘strut their stuff’ and stake their claims to moorland territories. This involves a lot of calling and flying to and fro. Their russet plumage responds well to warm light and I’m working on trying to catch them in among what little good heather remains. It’s not easy. First I need a compliant grouse in a photographable position, then some warm light (within an hour or so of sun up), a patch of heather that still looks nice and some sort of activity to finish things off.
It’s hard to predict exactly when these seasonal changes will take place and the final details can only truly be assessed by going and having a look. Every year is a little bit different. It isn’t so much a case of one door being slammed shut and another one ripped open, it’s more like an endlessly revolving door that allows constant minute changes, which build to a noticeable difference over time. Nonetheless, fast or slow, the end result is still the same; heather out – grouse in.