While I love this blog, I now pretty much only write on my other two blogs: BirdingBlogs.com and 10,000 Birds - I would love to see you there!

Monday, 21 April 2008

The Ptarmigan


I found this gorgeous image on Flickr and really wanted to share it (click on the link to go to the original site). Leafing through my bird book a few months ago, I saw the Ptarmigan (here, better known as Alpenschneehühn Lagopus muta) and I was struck by its stark beauty. There are very few pure white animals in the tropics, and they really do stand out when you see one so, I must admit, that I have a natural draw to beautiful white birds. And then, quite unexpectedly, I was snowboarding at Patscherkofel one day, and a group of five startlingly white Ptarmigan flew over. A few weeks later, I got to see some in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, and again in Kühtai. It seems that they really like the areas near the top of the tree line (about 2000m) or higher. In spring, they lose their lovely white plumage for a better camouflaged brown flecking, and the males get a bright red comb. The brighter and bigger the comb, the better his chances are of successfully breeding!

So, if you happen to be high in the mountains, always keep a look out for these little guys as they fly around in their little groups.

Happy birding
Dale Forbes

4 comments:

Sal Hofmeyr said...

Nice blogs Darkwing :-) Are the photos all yours, except for the white ptarmigan one of course?
Keep up the good work - and please remind me every so often to check it, as I'm not very good at doing that!
Cheers,
Hoffies x

Dale Forbes said...

unfortunately, many of the photos are not mine. my camera, she is brokend - the unfortunate result of tobogganing on new year's eve. click on the photos and the link will take you back to the original site. for the most part they are flickr creative commons photos.

as for checking, just click on the RSS feed link on the right hand side and set it as an active bookmark on your browser. that way it is just a simple click to see if there are any new posts.

naturewatch said...

Ptarmigans are one of my all time favorites. Problem is if you're equipped right you probably won't find one and if you happen to see one (like you did on Patscherkofel or in Serfaus) you're probably not equipped. Sigh. I happened to see them quite often in Serfaus, in Verpeil (near Kaunertal) and on Venet near Landeck-Zams.

naturewatch said...

Ptarmigans are one of my all time favorites. Problem is if you're equipped right you probably won't find one and if you happen to see one (like you did on Patscherkofel or in Serfaus) you're probably not equipped. Sigh. I happened to see them quite often in Serfaus, in Verpeil (near Kaunertal) and on Venet near Landeck-Zams.