It’s a great day as a wildlife photographer when you photograph a species for the first time. Today was one of those days for me – a White-tailed Ptarmigan. And it happened quite by accident.
Ever since we moved to Durango last summer, Cheril and I have talked about going snowmobiling. Finally,today we did it. It was a ton of fun and now Cheril thinks we need to buy a matching pair of snow machines for ourselves. Well, maybe. It was pretty fun.
Anyway, we came upon a pair of White-tailed Ptarmigan very near thetrail. I was traveling light so I had only my Canon 5D MKII and 24-70mm f/2.8L. Definitely not a wildlife kit. I sure could have used a little more reach – and snow shoes too.Regardless, this guy (or gal) was very patient and accommodating. I was able to use a spruce tree as amakeshiftblind to get reasonably close withoutdisturbingthe bird.
Apparently, of the three species of Ptarmigan native to North America, only the White-tailed Ptarmigan’s range includes Colorado. I’m surprised they were hanging out so close to a well-traveled snowmobile trail – snow mobilesaren’t exactly quiet you know. It was pretty early though and I think we were the first ones on the trail this morning.
Here’s one of my favorites. I kinda like the way the limbs of the spruce frame the bird. Also, at 70mm there is plenty of the environment in the frame which provides nice context to the image. It certainly would have been a different image with 200mm or 400mm – not necessarily better though.
Thanks for stopping by.