Black grouse lek, Bergslagen
You are in the midst of a dramatic spectacle, with excited black grouse just a few meters away. The black grouse lek on the bog in Ekoparken Färna, in one of Bergslagen’s newest wolf territories, is an incredible sight during spring for anyone wanting to take photos or simply enjoy the magic of the display.
Out on a bog in Ekoparken Färna the black grouse of the district prepare for their display. A golden plover cries mournfully in the distance, the curlew sings, and the osprey comes to life as the first rays of the sun light up the stage. The black grouse cocks start to whirl frenetically like small radio-controlled cars amongst the tufts. This is the highlight of an intensive spring experience in the forests of Västmanland in central Sweden.
The adventure begins the day before, with a peaceful dinner at Ulvsbomuren Wildlife Safari & Lodging. Tasty local dishes are served, often based on game or lamb. Then it’s time to plan and organize the activities for the evening and next morning. We’re given a detailed introduction to all the secrets of the black grouse lek before we head out into the forest for a walk of less than an hour. In good time before dusk, we select a suitable canvas hide and settle in. Those of us with cameras are given tips and advice about suitable light conditions and the best photo angles – both long and short lenses will be needed. As darkness falls, it's time to get a few hours sleep. We don't want to miss the next morning's performance.
The cocks arrive before dawn, and the display starts in the darkness, growing in intensity until it reaches its peak soon after sunrise. It is the black grouse cocks with their angry red eyebrows that play the main role. But a spring morning can offer a lot more entertainment. The common crane or the osprey recently returned from tropical Africa for example. Maybe a Northern Goshawk trying to sink its claws into one of the grouse or another victim in one of Bergslagen’s wolf territories.
The tour ends and starts in Surahammar, which is easily accessible by train.