Tuesday, May 06, 2008

New Species of Grouse Discovered in Scotland

Having successfully ticked all four British species of Grouse within 24 hours during their recent successful trip to Scotland (trip report to follow shortly), Birders in Boxers members were amazed, on the same trip, to discover a completely new species of Grouse.

Luckily a cracking photograph was taken of this individual skulking around Inverness Airport. As you can see it’s obviously a Galliforme and a member of the family Tetraonidae.

Named Tetrao llynfius and provisionally given the common name of Big Grouse (suggestions of other suitable names would be most welcome) this creature was studied closely over the trip period and the following characteristics were noted:

Length/Size: Around about six feet tall in its boots. A commanding figure.

Plumage: Immaculate. Always blow dries its hair no matter how early it gets up in the morning.

Habitat: Anywhere – as long as there are birds there for it to see. Even willing to forgo its natural instinct to do as little walking as possible if there might be a chance of finding a lifer e.g. didn't let the prospect of some strenuous walking in the remote corries of Cairngorm get in the way of it searching for Ptarmigan (although it would have preferred to have travelled to the top of the mountain on the funicular railway). Also regularly found thoroughly enjoying itself in a variety of hostelries and eateries, which leads us on to . . .

Food: Loves its food and eats almost anything. During the observation period it consumed fish cakes, fish and chips, a chocolate torte, king prawn madras and numerous pasties. Not partial to Game Pie though.

Drink: Oh yes! Knows a good pint of ale when it sees one and was watched downing quite a few pints in the Ben Mhor Hotel late one evening. Even enjoys a glass or two of Chardonnay. Turned to a can of Red Bull on one occasion to get it through a rough patch in the day caused by an early start which had followed a late night.

Eggs: 2, fried and usually consumed early in the morning accompanied by bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, coffee, orange juice and as much toast as the B&B kitchen can produce. (A preference for Flora rather than butter on his toast is a nod in the direction of healthy eating). Often followed by loud groans of complaint at having eaten too much. On one occasion preferred its eggs scrambled and served with smoked salmon on a toasted muffin.

Voice: Often heard exclaiming . . . . “Piece of piss this birding”; “Fabulous bird!” and “I told you so!” A humorous individual, prone to cracking jokes – often very bad – but nonetheless amusing.

Its nocturnal vocalisations are however quite different. It emits a loud, rasping snore that continues unabated throughout the night. It also emits a similar sound during the day released from its rear end. Should you hear this sound it is highly recommended that you make every effort to move upwind immediately.

Conservation Status: Critical. It originally appeared to be the only individual left of the species in the world. Though the following photograph of what might be the female of the species (note similar plumage but with the presence of ‘pigtails’) might offer some hope for the future of this unique and magnificent creature.

A female Big Grouse?


Jeff said...

Fair play butt as we say in the valleys,that is bloody brilliant !!

Big Grouse.

Jeff said...

Having closely examined the photograph of the female of the species I don't think there's much chance of a breeding attempt !!

Big Grouse