As we headed towards the snow covered Rocky Mountains, I thought to myself, "Will we be driving to the top?"
|Note the cars in the distance. They are tiny. Also note the steep ledges:)|
As we climbed higher and higher into the alpine region, it became colder, windier and much harder to breathe. But it was only here that we might spy the amazing White-tailed Ptarmigan. So I white-knuckled it to the top driving like a true flatlander....under the speed limit and hanging out in the center lane whenever possible. Micheal yelled at me several times to stay in our lane. I saw a bird dancing in the snow but I couldn't stop because that was the rule. And I had a park ranger behind me:) After that drive, Micheal took over for the rest of our alpine adventure:)
|male Mountain Bluebird|
But if we were to claim our life bird, we would have to do what was required to find ourselves the White-tailed Ptarmigans. It's an alpine level bird during the summer and blends in real well with all the rocks. During the winter, they turn all white and hang out along the timberline region buried in the snow. I was expecting this grouse to be mainly a ground bird so we scanned every rock and chunk of snow.
As we sat on a rock, a Marmot popped his head out as if to say, "What are you folks doing around these parts?"
Micheal scanned and scanned. I kept my ears open. And then I heard this loud squawking.
"There! Over there Micheal!" He put his binos on the birds. I got the camera ready and together we observed these amazing birds scout around the area for food. They did like to fly a bit more than I imagined and that was interesting to observe.
We stopped at the Alpine Visitor Center after our hike and got a look at these birds up close in their display case. It was an amazing trek finding this bird and coffee/hot chocolate never tasted better after this chilly morning hike. Have I ever mentioned how birding is awesomely epic? Ok, I might overuse the word "epic" sometimes, but hey it is!