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Re: [BirdYak] Finally, a White-tailed Ptarmigan

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  • Kathleen Ross
    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
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 1, 2003
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      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@...>
      To: <BirdYak@yahoogroups.com>
      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
      of
      > 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
      alpine
      > 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
      > group.
      > 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
      a
      > 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
      above
      > 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
      forest.
      >
      > I have two photos of the White-tailed Ptarmigan on the BirdYak website:
      >
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BirdYak/
      >
      > Click on "photos" on the left side of the screen.
      >
      > For those of you who aren't registered with Yahoo, or who are registered
      but
      > are ignored by Yahoo, I also put them on my photo website, which is still
      > under construction:
      >
      > http://www.nwinfo.net/~osprey/gallery/albums.php
      >
      > Denny
      >
      >
      > * * * * * * * * * * *
      > * Denny Granstrand *
      > * Yakima, WA *
      > * osprey@... *
      > * * * * * * * * * * *
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
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