Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Alpine Tundra

Joy looking out from an overlook along Trail Ridge Road. Tuesday, we drove from Grand Lake to Fort Collins via Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park. It was still too early for wild flowers, since there was a lot of snow cover in places. It was, though, a great time to look for alpine tundra birds.

The trail from the Alpine Visitors Center to Milner Pass.

White-tailed Ptarmigan was one of my target birds. These guys made it easy, walking right across the path.

Ptarmigan strikes a pose

You can see how well the Ptarmigans can blend in. I took a wide angle shot of this bird, and I couldn't even find him in the photo.

American Pipits seemed to be the most common tundra bird, along with Horned Larks, and White-crowned Sparrows.

Brown-capped Rosy Finch was the other alpine tundra species that I was really hoping for. They made it pretty sporting, and I only saw several.

I hear that they are almost always on the snow fields, but only one of the ones I saw was near a snow field. BTW, it is almost impossible to take a good, detailed photo of something dark on a snow field on a sunny day.

This Rosy Finch landed beside the car while I was waiting in a considerable line for road construction. It might be the first time that I cursed the luck that the workers got the traffic moving too quickly. I had no choice but to leave these life birds behind...

1 comment:

Scott Namestnik said...

According to everyone I know who's ever seen a ptarmigan, that's the way to find them, as they happen to cross the path in front of you. You can't just search for them in the appropriate habitat because they are so well camouflaged. Good lookin' bird for sure.