The present watercolour was executed a year before Thorburn's important watercolour The Twelfth, depicting red grouse in full flight, ahead of the guns, on the 12th August - the opening of the grouse season (see J. Southern, Thorburn's Birds and Mammals, London, 1986, p. 62, illustrated in colour).
The Twelfth is thought to have been painted on the Perthshire hills, whilst Thorburn was staying with his friend J. Henry Dixon of Pitlochry. John Southern comments on the successful construction of the artist's flying grouse and particularly praises the foreshortening of the nearest bird. In the present watercolour Thorburn has achieved similar results on a smaller scale.