Zoltán Gergely Nagy - Carpathian Spring

Zoltán Gergely Nagy - Carpathian Spring

Usually in April capercaillies gather at lekking sites in the high Carpathians, where the males measure up to one another and later mate with the females, if they prove fit and dominant enough.

I set out to experience and photograph this spectacle in the great forests of the Retezat Mountains of Romania. Since the Retezat is also a National Park, these birds have not been hunted here for almost a century and I have found the local knowledge of the exact lekking sites very limited. I wondered through a few valleys and a lot of suitable habitat starting in the middle of April but I couldn't even catch glimpses of capercaillies, and was contemplating going home with just the landscapes and forestscapes I have produced, when one early morning I heard my first lekking male. After that I could hear more and more males every morning, but still only from high up on trees, hidden behind branches until one morning, when suddenly capercaillies started landing everywhere on the snow, mating and chasing each other well into the morning hours. I could feel some of the excitement and rush transferring into me from these birds - an amazing show to be part of!

Location: Romania

Posted on 07.05.2013
Photo info - 23.04.2013: NIKON D800, 360 mm, ISO 800, f 4, 1/800 sec
Tags: capercaillie chase lek Retezat mountains Romania snow spring tetrao urogallus Zoltan Gergely Nagy wildlife photography
Zoltán Gergely Nagy - Carpathian Spring

Zoltán Gergely Nagy - Carpathian Spring

Usually in April capercaillies gather at lekking sites in the high Carpathians, where the males measure up to one another and later mate with the females, if they prove fit and dominant enough.

I set out to experience and photograph this spectacle in the great forests of the Retezat Mountains of Romania. Since the Retezat is also a National Park, these birds have not been hunted here for almost a century and I have found the local knowledge of the exact lekking sites very limited. I wondered through a few valleys and a lot of suitable habitat starting in the middle of April but I couldn't even catch glimpses of capercaillies, and was contemplating going home with just the landscapes and forestscapes I have produced, when one early morning I heard my first lekking male. After that I could hear more and more males every morning, but still only from high up on trees, hidden behind branches until one morning, when suddenly capercaillies started landing everywhere on the snow, mating and chasing each other well into the morning hours. I could feel some of the excitement and rush transferring into me from these birds - an amazing show to be part of!

Location: Romania

Posted on 07.05.2013
Photo info - 23.04.2013: NIKON D800, 360 mm, ISO 800, f 4, 1/800 sec
Tags: capercaillie chase lek Retezat mountains Romania snow spring tetrao urogallus Zoltan Gergely Nagy wildlife photography