Sooty Grouse Photos – Birding in the High Sierra

I was surprised to see this large ground dwelling bird while hiking in the alpine high country near Mt. Hoffman. Like so many other wild animals up here, it barely seemed to care I was there. Here are more Sooty Grouse photos from my one and only encounter (so far).

Sooty Grouse photos, female in High Sierra
Female Sooty Grouse in High Sierra

From what I can gather, this specimen appears to be a female. It is a large speckled brown bird, resembling a chicken a bit. The scientific name is Dendragapus fuliginosus. She has a beautiful splash of color around her eye. My zoom lens enabled me to get quite a nice, soft bokeh here.

Sooty Grouse photos, portrait with bokeh
Strike a pose

I was surprised how tame she seemed to be, letting me get quite close. We were in a quite a sparse and exposed rocky area. Ultimately she retreated to the safety of one of the few trees, though she didn’t try too hard to avoid me once up in the branches.

Sooty Grouse Photos – Superzoom Closeup

As mentioned countless other times in my writing, a powerful zoom lens is probably the most important piece of gear I own. Mine is actually an all-in-one Canon G3X compact camera, with a large sensor. It may be a bit slow, but the convenience factor is priceless.

I never need to worry about dust on the sensor, and essentially I have a full range of 24mm wide to 600mm zoom! It’s built like a tank, and cross my fingers, super reliable after almost 4 solid years.

Dendragapus fuliginosus - Sooty Grouse photos, soft bokeh closeup

Apparently this species of grouse is closely related to the dusky grouse, and up until only 2006, the two were actually though to be the same species, called the blue grouse. Now they each have their own name and classification.

I hope I have more unique bird sightings like this in the future. It adds a nice dimension to my Yosemite exploration and documentation.

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About My Photos

The images on this website are available for licensing and/or sale as framed prints. If you’d like to purchase them for a blog, news article, or gift, feel free to contact me with the specifics. This way you’re supporting photographers such as me directly (as opposed to buying from a faceless stock photo corporation).

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– Nathan Allen

About Me

Photographer Nathan Allen

I’m Nathan Allen, photographer / creator of (Yosemite Photos) and international travel site I Dreamed Of This. In truth, I lived in San Francisco, New York, & Singapore…but nothing compares to life in the mountains. I share my experiences HERE.