NOW OR NEVER.
Just as previous years, the first week of May results in some spectacular shows on the black grouse lek. The hormone levels in the black grouse males are peaking. The last females visit the lek to get mated and the males seem to know that it is now or never.
This year, there are five older males on the lek which clearly have the upper hand and are matched to each other. Every single time a female presents herself for one of the males, by laying down in front of him and spreading her wings, the four other males charge and literally kick him off the female. This has been going on for about two weeks. It looks like that this made the five males change their tactics. Whenever one of the five males sees a chance, he runs to a female, grabs her and tries to mate before getting his ass kicked by the other four.
On the morning of the 4th of May, six females visited the lek and all six got mated. …well one got mated and the other 5 got raped. This is the first time that I have seen this. I managed to photograph this in several occations and also caught it once on film. You can find the pictures and film below.
For more information about photographing black grouse from my hides, visit the Your Norwegian Nature website.