26 April 2015

Tetrao Urogallus

Tetrao urogallus is the scientific Latin name of the Western capercaillie, a large and impressive mountain forest bird also known in English as wood grouse or heather cock. The Romanian name, CocoČ™ de munte translates word by word as Mountain rooster.

Two weeks ago, while running up on Postavarul Mountain, I had a close encounter with a beautiful male specimen. I have seen capercaillies before, but never so close. They usualy dissapear quickly into the forest. This time it was half way up the mountain, near a ski slope, around 9 AM, just before the skiers would invade the place. Unfortunately I did not have a decent photo camera with me. I only had my cheap phone with its crappy camera. But the bird was not scared so I could slowly approach it: step by step... we studied each other. He produced some sounds, I talked to him calmly while moving closer, avoiding to do sudden movements. It is the mating season so I guess he was showing off... This is the best photo I managed to take. At home I tried to squeeze as much as I could from it... I adjusted the levels, colors and cropped it.

Yesterday I ran again up the Postavarul mountain and passed by the place where I met the capercaillie. I was running as a competitor in the Brasov Maraton mountain trail race. I will post more about this great race day during next days.

Today I went skiing on Postavarul Mountain - one of the last ski days of the season. We stopped for lunch at the Postavarul cottage, up on the mountain. They had one of these birds stuffed on display on a wall...

When I am running alone in the woods I quite often meet wild animals. It is usually deer and sometimes stags. I have never met wild pigs (boars) but I have seen lots of their traces especially on snow during winter. There is one large animal which I do not look forward to meet: the brown bear. So when I am alone I stick to the main trails and I often make noises to signal my presence in the area. I should write in a separate post about my closest and traumatic encounter with a bear... 

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