Black Grouse at lek

7th April to 5th May 2018 (please enquire for up to date availability)

£170 per person for 1 day; £310 pp for 2 days; £425 pp for 3 days

Deposit: £125 per person

Enquiries › Book ›

Black grouse males gather at their traditional moorland leks at dawn each morning from as early as January although activity peaks during April wihen the females (greyhens) visit the lek to check out potential mates. The dates below coincide with peak activity and provide the very best chance to capture the lekking behaviour in full swing.

The birds first arrive on the lek site in the twilight of dawn and you can usually begin to photograph them about 30 minutes before sunrise using high ISO settings. The site is in a very open situation and receives good light. On a sunny day the lek receives direct sunshine approximately 45 minutes after sunrise. On average you can expect 2-3 hours of good light for photography. in 2017 there were 14 active males displaying on the lek arena, with the nearest birds less than 10m from the hide at most times. The furthest males are around 40m from the hide although it's likely that you will concentrate on the nearest and middle distance individuals.

The males defend their ‘patch’ on the lek and there can be frequent fights between rival birds, with the potential for spectacular images. The males also perform flutter jumps, leaping high into the air, as they show off to nearby watching females.  The females can visit the lek at any time but it is typical for them to arrive early in the morning. Usually between 2-6 females may be seen but some days they be absent, especially in poor weather. Activity usually subsides around 0830 and the birds will typically leave the lek sometime before 0900.

The lek (display area) is on a river flood plain on short tussocky grass, with excellent views of the main lekking arena. There are two semi-permanent hides (1 x 2-seater; 1 x 1-seater) sited on a solid woeden platform. Each person has a single porthole. Tripod required. You will be guided to the hide, which involves a 5-10 minute walk along a good track and then a further 10 minute walk over level but rough ground (walking across heather moorland). You should be of reasonable fitness and able to carry your pack and tripod for 20 minutes in the dark.

Recommended Camera equipment

You will ideally need a lens in the range of 300mm to 500mm. A longer lens is great for close-up portraits while a shorter lens will allow you to shoot birds fighting and birds in habitat. A telephoto zoom lens is very useful. A camera that is capable of shooting in low light using high ISO settings with low noise is an advantage although not essential. You will typically want to shoot using ISO settings of between 400 and 3200, starting at the higher settings in the first light of the day.


Further information available on request.

7th April to 5th May 2018 (please enquire for up to date availability)

£170 per person for 1 day; £310 pp for 2 days; £425 pp for 3 days

Deposit: £125 per person

Enquiries › Book ›

Contact Mark Hamblin

+44 (0)1479 841547
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