Everyone told me when I went to Alaska, that seeing a Rock Ptarmigan would be very easy.
Little did I know that I’d have to log many miles, searching through rocky areas and that it would be the last life bird I’d see in the 28 days I spent in Alaska.
Willow Ptarmigan were everywhere in Nome and the surrounding areas but a trip up the Teller Road was needed to find Rock Ptarmigan.
On the climb up from the road Lapland Longspurs were everywhere. The odd pipit could be seen and I gave each one close attention as this was an area where Red-throated Pipits had been seen in the past.
I climbed for about 3/4 of a mile and then started to see birds in the distance.
One of the big surprises was spotting an Old World Swallowtail up at this elevation, no the best photo but they didn’t sit still for long.
It was my last North American ptarmigan, easy in some ways, tough in others.
For my White-tailed Ptarmigan I had a round trip of 14 hours (a little longer going down), through the mountain area at the Cathedral Lakes in British Columbia. Where my only company was a lone Mountain Goat. Sharing a drink, with me, at a rain filled cavity in a rock. I almost tripped over this bird. You can see below how well camouflaged they are.
Willow Ptarmigan can be found in Northern Quebec fairly easily but required a 27 hour drive to the Trans-Tiaga Road, which leads to the LG4 power generation plant in the James Bay Area. Caribou were everywhere. There are probably other better places to see these ptarmigan, much easier but I was up there for other reasons.
Many times I thought I’d never see White-tailed and Rock Ptarmigans but I just kept trying.
Ciao for now