UOS Field Trip to Leidy Peak
                        
      7 Aug 2004


Target Species:  

White-tailed Ptarmigan

Dennis Shirley invited all interested Utah birders to join the Utah Ornothological Society (UOS) on a field trip to track down the elusive White-tailed Ptarmigan on the high talus slopes of 12,200 foot Leidy Peak in the eastern end of the Uinta mountain range on August 7, 2004. 

A total of 14 hardy souls turned out for the event. They included Tuula Rose, Milton Moody, Dana Green, Lu Giddings, Dennis Shirley, Pomera Fronce, Leena Rogers, Steve Carr, Alton Thygerson, Jim & Judy Bailey, Kathleen Roach, Bryan Shirley, and Steve Sommerfield.

The weather at 7am was beautiful, without a cloud to be seen and awesome vistas in every direction. Under Dennis Shirley's knowledgeable leadership, the group spread out to traverse the talus slopes in a counterclockwise direction toward the north. At around 8:30am, the first ptarmigan was spotted. We waited a few minutes for the group to gather so all could see the bird before proceeding any further.

We soon had spotted a number of the ptarmigans, including male, female, and juvenile birds. The estimate was around 10-12 individuals. For most of the group, this was a life bird.

This is a very interesting bird in that it is so well camouflaged against the rocks and grassy slopes. It would be extremely difficult to spot them if they did not move. In fact, staying motionless appears to be their main line of defense. It was quite easy to approach very close to the birds without seriously disturbing them.    ~ Jim Bailey
 

 

Looking south from the bottom of the talus slopes of Leidy Peak
  

Male White-tailed Ptarmigan
Photo by Jim Bailey  
©Jim Bailey
  

Female blending in with the rocks
Photo by Jim Bailey   ©Jim Bailey
  

Male with characteristic speckled black on white
  

Back view showing the feathered feet
  

Victorious birders with Leidy Peak in background:
Photo by Jim Bailey  
©Jim Bailey
l. to r.: Tuula Rose, Milton Moody, Dana Green, Lu Giddings, Dennis Shirley, Pomera Fronce,
Leena Rogers, Steve Carr, Alton Thygerson, Judy Bailey, Kathleen Roach, Bryan Shirley.
Absent from photo: Steve Sommerfield & Jim Bailey (photographer). 

  

Ptarmigan-eyed view of the friendly visitors with the Flaming Gorge area in the background
  


Un-credited photos by Milt Moody (staff photographer)  ©Milton G. Moody

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