Where to see a black grouse lek

Five great sites to watch the amazing courtship performance of black grouse

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Where to see the black grouse lek

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Between the months of March and June (usually April and May) at dawn and also in the autumn,  male black grouse gather together on a daily basis, occupying their own little piece of territory in a makeshift arena. Each male attempts to visually impress their female counterparts with an extravagant display of dancing and flashing white feathers, in an attempt to win a mate.

Wrexham, Clwyd
RSPB Cymru is organising free early morning guided walks to the lek site at Coed Llandegla Forest between the end of March and late May. The birds are usually viewed with telescopes and binoculars from the hide so as not to disturb them. The walks last around one hour and then head back to the visitor’s centre for breakfast. Booking is essential.

Cairngorms National Park, Highlands
Glenlivet Wildlife tours leave shortly before sunrise to visit a remote glen where there is easily accessible viewing of the black grouse’s courtship rituals. Other animals such as roe deer, mountain hares and red deer can also be seen here.

Upper Teesdale, County Durham
Natural England and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust run tours to view the black grouse lek, a short tour of habitats and breakfast at the Langdon Beck Hotel. Booking is essential.

North Pennines
Northern Experience Wildlife Tours runs safari days, during which you have a fair chance of seeing black grouse.

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Eagle Brae, Inverness-shire
Guided tours take place in an all-terrain vehicle and get close to the birds without disturbing them. Eagle Brae has signed up to a government scheme to enhance the habitat of black grouse to ensure generations can come to enjoy this spectacular sight.