October 14 – Spruced Up

Feeling rather low because of the cold that hit me a couple of days ago, I limited my birding to driving, rather use up energy that I didn’t have by walking. I chose to drive up Arctic Valley Road, just north of Anchorage. The 7-mile drive up the mountain gravel road was uneventful, but very pretty. Although the higher elevations had a dusting of snow, the road and roadside areas had none. Only one bird was heard (Boreal Chickadee) on the way to the end of the road and no birds were seen as I drove up the road.





On the way down the road, at about just over 3 miles down from the top, I stopped to look at a distant brown spot on the road ahead of me. It was a Spruce Grouse (male) eating in the dirt at the left side of the road. Gradually I inched forward, taking a few blurry photos through the front window. Then I saw a car approaching from ahead and knew the grouse would be flushed. Rapidly I stuck the camera out the window and tried for a few more photos. The other car stopped before it reached the grouse, however, and then we both inched forward toward the grouse. Every time I stopped I took some more photos. When we were both very close  to the grouse, the other car slowly swerved to its wrong side of the road straight ahead of me and slowly drove around the grouse and then past me. The grouse never left the road, so I eventually slowly drove right up to the grouse and took many more pictures. Another car then approached rapidly from ahead and zoomed by, and the grouse just went to the very edge of the road but did not leave it. When I finally left, the grouse was still just off the road, watching.





Very nice. I still have my cold but for half an hour I forgot all about it.

299 species so far



One thought on “October 14 – Spruced Up

  1. brighamstephen October 15, 2016 / 3:57 am

    Great “sneaking-up” technique and shots. I use the same car birding approach. It seems they’ll let you get close and shoot out of an open window but flush as soon as you open the door.


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