Above: Black Grouse at the RSPB’s Corrimony nature reserve by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com
RSPB Scotland is launching a series of special "photo-safaris" allowing visitors to witness, and photograph the breeding display of black grouse.
The safaris, which begin at 6am, are taking place at the RSPB’s Corrimony nature reserve during April, starting on Easter weekend, and trips take approximately two and a half hours.
Safari leader Brad Chappell, a former professional photographer, said: "Every year in spring male black grouse come together on a special site, known as a lek, where they display in order to attract the attention of females. It’s a terrific spectacle and ideal for photography. The male birds strut around, flutter into the air, and spread their fan-tails. They often face up to each other and things can quite exciting. This is all combined with the most extraordinary soundtrack as the grouse produce a strange, very evocative, bubbling call.
We travel to the lek in a minibus which acts as a mobile hide so the birds are not disturbed. We have run the safaris for a few seasons now and the photographs that visitors have made have been so successful that we thought we should promote them as 'photo-safaris'. I should say that it is an early start.
The safaris are run in conjunction with the Famous Grouse and each adult participant will be given a complimentary miniature bottle of Black Grouse whisky. After the safaris we will be visiting the Bog Cotton Cafe in Cannich a full cooked Scottish breakfast."
To book a place, which costs £20 for RSPB members and £25 for non-members, photographers need to ring the Inverness office on: 01463 715000 or send them an email