While Tammy and I were in Grand Teton National Park, we hiked the trail around Jenny Lake, past Hidden Falls, and up to Inspiration Point. This is the same trail where we saw that cute Pika with the nasty tick between his eyes. Along this trail there was a spur trail over to a pond where you sometimes could see moose. We took that trail, but alas, there was no moose. On the other hand, I almost stepped on a Ruffed Grouse.
This is my second close encounter with a Ruffed Grouse. I ran into one on a trail in Maine in June of 2006 (no picture). When I saw the one in Maine, I thought that it was somewhat slow to react to my presence. It saw me, and kept watching me, as it kind of sauntered off into the woods. It did not fly away in a panic. It just slowly, but purposely, walked away into the underbrush. At that time I thought that behavior was a tad odd, but I had never had a close encounter with a Ruffed Grouse before, so what did I know?
So, as Tammy and I were scanning the pond in the hopes of spotting a moose, I noticed some movement on the ground near my feet. I immediately stopped and watched as a Ruffed Grouse sauntered across the trail in front of me. Once again, this bird slowly but purposely, with no panic evident in its movements, made its way into the underbrush. Two close encounters with a Ruffed Grouse, same behavior each time.
Here is a picture of the pond with a reflection of the Grand Tetons in it. I timed the shot perfectly so that the water would be rippled, thereby preventing a clear reflection of the mountains (sarcasm). Tammy did a much better job with this opportunity. The next two photos are of the Ruffed Grouse that I almost stepped on.