Re: [BirdYak] Finally, a White-tailed Ptarmigan
- I also saw a white-tailed ptarmigan (a first for me, too) in the North
Cascades on the highway just east of Washington Pass on July 10.
Approaching a bird in the middle of the highway, my first thought from a
distance was that it must be a grouse . . . but she obviously wasn't when I
got very close. This female was also entirely tame, and just stood in the
middle of the road next to something (maybe a chick or two -- I couldn't
see) while I swerved around her. In the rear-view mirror she was calmly
looking up from the center line at the retreating car as if she had
personally shooed me away! I didn't realize that it was a ptarmigan until
I was too far past to stop and there was no shoulder allowing a U-turn . . .
Do a lot of these birds get killed on the highway because of their tameness?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Denny Granstrand" <osprey@...>
Sent: Tuesday, July 22, 2003 9:52 PM
Subject: [BirdYak] Finally, a White-tailed Ptarmigan
> Hi Yakkers,
> I have been searching for a White-tailed Ptarmigan in Washington for well
> over twenty years. I lost track of the number of excursions aimed at this
> bird at about fifteen.
> Chris and I went with Andy and Ellen Stepniewski for a long weekend of
> camping at Hart's Pass northwest of Winthrop. The weather was great, the
> birds and butterflies wonderful and the hiking wore me out.
> The bird list was quite extensive with the highlights being:
> A female White-tailed Ptarmigan with six chicks on the north side
> Slate Peak. She allowed close photos but the chicks were moving around so
> fast photos were difficult. Finally one hid in the grasses under an
> fir tree and I was able to get a close photo.
> Andy and Ellen brought a hummingbird feeder along which was hung
> from a tree at our campsite. The Rufous Hummingbirds delighted us with
> their antics of defending all the feeder from all comers, so much so that
> few seemed to be able to stop to feed. One time we had 7 or 8 buzzing
> around the campsite. All seemed to be juveniles, with one Calliope in the
> Several Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches were found near the snowfields
> during the ptarmigan hunt.
> Pine Grosbeaks were heard calling almost every day and we had
> several sightings from our campsite. Two seemed to be eating buds on a
> sub-alpine fir across the road from our campsite.
> Andy got the only sightings of Three-toed Woodpeckers and Boreal
> Chickadees, while Ellen and I saw two Black Swifts flying from their
> westside nesting area to the Methow Valley to feed during the day.
> Two male Varied Thrush hopped through our campsite allowing
> incredibly close views.
> A Western Meadowlark was seen uphill from Hart's Pass at an
> elevation of about 6800 feet.
> The butterflies were also a delight with about ten species identified and
> few decent photos taken.
> The fire in the Pasayten Wilderness changed our plans twice. When we were
> at Slate Peak we were able to get views of the incredible smoke plume
> the ridge to the east of Slate Peak. It actually looked like a volcano
> erupting. At last report it has burned over 48000 acres of pristine
> I have two photos of the White-tailed Ptarmigan on the BirdYak website:
> Click on "photos" on the left side of the screen.
> For those of you who aren't registered with Yahoo, or who are registered
> are ignored by Yahoo, I also put them on my photo website, which is still
> under construction:
> * * * * * * * * * * *
> * Denny Granstrand *
> * Yakima, WA *
> * osprey@... *
> * * * * * * * * * * *
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