This ancient wood is haunted
by a mythic forest spirit.
We walk in awe, alert for
champagne cork popping calls.
Behind each lichened tree
invisible birds lek* in silence
but flee as we approach.
In the heart of the forest
we find a strange Scot's pine
with flattened topmost branches.
"That's the capercaillie's perch"
we're told "and this is as close
as we'll ever get to the bird itself."
We strain our eyes
but shadows remain
a lek is the display area for capercaillie or other species of grouse; also the name for the display itself.