Willow Ptarmigan!

Willow Ptarmigan at Point Peninsula, New York 4/26/14

Willow Ptarmigan at Point Peninsula, New York 4/26/14


Today, Scott Baldinger and I had a commitment to the Bashakill Area Association for the annual clean up and picnic. As soon as we were done, we headed north at 1pm to Point Peninsula New York to try for the WILLOW PTARMIGAN. We had a great afternoon. When we pulled up, a young woman told us that they were looking for the Ptarmigan, but hadn’t found it yet. Just then, her boyfriend signaled us all that it was right in the tree we had pulled up to. We got out of the car and had great looks at this first state record only 25 to 30 feet away from us. In typical Ptarmigan fashion, the bird completely ignored us. I was surprised that there were only the four of us looking for the bird. I took many photos and spent about half an hour observing its behavior as it jumped and walked from limb to limb, nipping off willow buds as it went. The bird preened and rested and ate periodically. What a great bird! We scanned the water beyond the Ptarmigan and had many species of waterfowl. When we finally tore ourselves away, we headed back out Rt 57. Less than five miles from the Ptarmigan, we found a SNOWY OWL sitting atop a telephone pole. What a great ending to a fabulous day! Thanks Scott for coming along for this great experience! I would like to mention that a gentleman stopped by as we watched the Ptarmigan. He informed us that the bird has ranged quite widely since it was found three days ago. He pointed to a boat house up the road. He said the bird has been by the boat house and all the way in the opposite direction beyond the intersection in the road. I mention this for anyone who might be looking for the bird in case there is no one present upon your arrival. The bird could be anywhere in this area so look carefully. You’d be surprised how invisible the bird can be in a tree. Good luck if you go!
The Ptarmigan freely moved among even the smallest of branches in the willow tree, feeding on buds as it went.

The Ptarmigan freely moved among even the smallest of branches in the willow tree, feeding on buds as it went.


The Ptarmigan would rest and preen between feeding forays out the branches of the willow.

The Ptarmigan would rest and preen between feeding forays out the branches of the willow.


Just five miles up Rt. 57, we found a Snowy Owl atop a telephone pole.

Just five miles up Rt. 57, we found a Snowy Owl atop a telephone pole.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Willow Ptarmigan!

  1. Wow John! What a great day of birding! Great job with the ptarmigan photos too.

    • Thanks Matt!  I don’t know if you are aware, but that was my number one target species on two trips to Alaska.  I missed it both times, so this was an especially sweet success.  See you later this  morning!  John

  2. scott baldinger says:

    Wow John the Ptarmigan photos are terrific! I also love your shot of the Snowy and Great-horned Owls! Really enjoyed our trip!
    Scotty

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s