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Photos / Sounds

What

butterflies and moths Order Lepidoptera

Observer

mngross

Date

July 13, 2011

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Observer

mngross

Date

July 3, 2010

Description

Wild Rose

Information provided by

http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ROWO

Rosa woodsii Lindl.
Woods' rose, Western wild rose
Rosaceae (Rose Family)
USDA Symbol: ROWO
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

The Wood rose is a much-branched, deciduous shrub, up to 5 ft. tall, often growing in dense thickets. Stems are red and prickled on their lower portions, though not as well-armed as other wild roses. Leaves are pinnately-compoud with five to nine leaflets. Pink, five-petaled flowers, 2 in. across, are followed by many orange-red hips.

This is a variable species, with a number of varieties occuring throughout the western states.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

mngross

Date

August 21, 2004

Description

Tansy Aster

Information provided by

http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=MATA2

Machaeranthera tanacetifolia (Kunth) Nees
Tanseyleaf tansyaster, Tahoka Daisy, Tansy Aster
Asteraceae (Aster Family)
USDA Symbol: MATA2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

Branched stems with fern-like leaves ending in flower heads with many bright purple, very narrow rays surrounding a yellow central disk. Tahoka-daisy is a low, spreading, 6-12 in. annual with delicate but showy, aster-like flowers. Numerous lavender rays surround a yellow center. The stems are densely covered with sharp-pointed, deeply cut leaves which appear fern-like. Plants often form clumps or mounds.

The fern-like leaves of this beautiful species make it one of the easiest to identify in a complex group. False Tahoka Daisy (M. parviflora) is similar but has smaller flower heads, each with a central disk only 1/4-1/2 (6-13 mm) wide, and less elaborately divided leaves; it occurs from Utah south to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico.

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What

Isabella Tiger Moth Pyrrharctia isabella

Observer

mngross

Date

September 23, 2011

Photos / Sounds

What

scarlet gilia Ipomopsis aggregata

Observer

mngross

Date

June 10, 2010

Description

Information Provided By

http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=IPAG

Ipomopsis aggregata (Pursh) V. Grant
Scarlet gilia, Scarlet standing-cypress, Skyrocket, Skunkflower
Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)
USDA Symbol: IPAG
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

In upper leaf axils and at tops of sparsely-leaved stems are clusters of showy, bright red or deep pink, trumpet-shaped flowers.

Skyrocket, one of the most common western wildflowers, grows readily from seed; its brilliant red trumpets are handsome in the native garden. Its beauty compensates for the faint skunky smell of its glandular foliage, responsible for the less complimentary name Skunk Flower. Ipomopsis was once considered part of Gilia, explaining the name Scarlet Gilia.

Photos / Sounds

What

Opuntia Macrorhiza Family Cactaceae

Observer

mngross

Date

June 20, 2010

Description

Prickly Pear Cactus

Information provided by

http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=OPMA2

Opuntia macrorhiza Engelm.
Common prickly-pear, Plains prickly pear, Prickly Pear, Twist-spine prickly-pear, Twistspine pricklypear
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)
USDA Symbol: OPMA2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

This is a low, clump-forming prickly-pear, usually less than 10 in. tall, with flattened, bluish-green pads. Flowers appear at the upper margins of older segments and are 2-3 in. across. Flower petals are papery and light yellow, often reddish at the base. The fruit is fleshy, reddish-purple and without spines. Twist-spine prickly-pear can form clumps up to 3 ft. across.

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What

Gunnison's mariposa lily Calochortus gunnisonii

Observer

mngross

Date

July 26, 2010

Description

Information provided by:

http://montana.plant-life.org/species/calo_gunnis.htm

Family: Liliaceae, Lily
Genus: Calochortus

Description
General: perennial herb, stem erect, 10-30 cm tall, simple,
rarely with a basal bulblet, from deeply buried, fleshy bulbs.
Leaves: about 3-5, grass-like, alternate, clasping stem,
concave-convex, rolled in lengthwise, about 5-10 cm long
and 2-3 mm broad, reduced upwards.
Flowers: erect, white to purple, greenish within, often
with a narrow, sideways purple band on each petal above
the gland and a purple spot below. Sepals 3, similarly
marked, usually much shorter than the petals, lanceolate,
pointed, hairless. Petals 3, 3-4 cm long, obovate, usually
rounded above, densely bearded about the gland with hairs
branched and glandular at tips. Gland depressed, arched
sideways, densely covered with branched processes, the
outermost of which are somewhat united at the base to
form a discontinuous membrane. Anthers lanceolate,
pointed, longer than the filaments. Ovary linear, not winged,
tapering to a persistent 3-parted stigma.
Flowering time: July-August.
Fruits: capsule, linear-oblong, pointed, 3-angled, erect,
2.5-3 cm long. Seeds straw-colored, strongly flattened, with
loose-fitting coats.

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What

Yellow-headed Blackbird Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus

Observer

mngross

Date

June 20, 2012

Place

Colorado (Google, OSM)

Photos / Sounds

What

rubber rabbitbrush Ericameria nauseosa

Observer

mngross

Date

September 1, 2012

Place

Colorado (Google, OSM)

Photos / Sounds

What

Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos

Observer

mngross

Date

August 30, 2012

Photos / Sounds

What

broadleaf arnica Arnica latifolia

Observer

mngross

Date

August 30, 2012

Photos / Sounds

What

Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo

Observer

mngross

Date

August 30, 2012

Description

Information provided by

http://wildlife.state.co.us/Viewing/Features/Pages/ViewWildTurkey.aspx

here are five subspecies of wild turkeys in the United States, but the Merriam’s turkey is the most commonly found turkey in Colorado. These are considered Colorado’s “native” turkeys, having been kept by people as early as 500 A.D. These turkeys prefer Colorado’s ponderosa pine, scrub oak, and piñion-juniper forests, at elevations between 6,000 to 9,000 feet. The Merriam’s sports stunning coloration, with a mix of black with blue, bronze, and purple reflections. The distinguishing feature of the Merriam’s is its white rump.

The wild turkey is omnivorous. They’ll eat acorns, nuts, seeds, fruits, insects, buds, and even salamanders. They’ll scratch at the earth to uncover food during the day, and will roost in the trees at nighttime.

Spring breeding season is the prime time to go wild turkey watching. Male turkeys (called toms) will serenade potential mates with very loud and distinct gobbles. As if the very macho gobbling wasn’t enough, he fans out his tail, struts around the female, lowers his wings and drags the tips on the ground. These gobblers will mate with more than one female if given the chance.

Females lay 8-15 eggs hidden in a small depression in ground surrounded by vegetation. She incubates for 25-31 days. These chicks don’t stick around long. They leave the nest and begin feeding themselves shortly after hatching, but even though they generally fend for themselves, male chicks (or poults) stay with their mother through the fall, and female poults stay until the next spring.

So what are the differences between wild and domestic turkeys? Domestic turkeys can’t fly, whereas wild turkeys are very much built for speed. Wild turkeys are very sleek and alert, making it very difficult to hunt or watch them. The constant state of caution that wild turkeys are in makes them one of the most challenging game animals in the world. Domestic turkeys will gobble when just about anything else makes a noise, while wild turkeys will minimally vocalize to prevent attracting predators. The snoods (skin that hangs over the bill) is longer on domestic turkeys, and the neck skin is also heavier. All in all, domestic turkeys have been bred for a large amount of meat and a mild temperament, where wild turkeys have been subject to natural selection—evolving traits for speed, survival, sharper senses, and heightened awareness of their surroundings.

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What

Richardson's geranium Geranium richardsonii

Observer

mngross

Date

July 26, 2010

Description

White Geranium

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What

Alpine forget-me-not Myosotis alpestris

Observer

mngross

Date

July 21, 2011

Description

Information provided by

http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ERNA

Eritrichium nanum (Vill.) Schrad. ex Gaudin
Alpine Forget-me-not, Arctic alpine forget-me-not
Boraginaceae (Borage Family)
USDA Symbol: ERNA
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

A low, cushion-like plant with deep blue flowers just above the tufted leaves.
Flowers: corolla funnel-shaped, about 1/4 (6 mm) wide, 5-lobed, with 5 yellow pads around the opening to the narrow tube.
Leaves: up to 1/2 (1.3 cm) long, lanceolate, c

The genus name comes from the Greek erion (wool) and trichos (hair), referring to the hairs on the plants, which on Howards Alpine Forget-me-not (E. howardii) of western Montana and northern Wyoming are so dense they usually hide

Photos / Sounds

Observer

mngross

Date

July 16, 2010

Photos / Sounds

What

Yellow-bellied Marmot Marmota flaviventris

Observer

mngross

Date

August 28, 2012

Description

Information provided by

http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/Profiles/Mammals/Pages/Marmot.aspx

Description: The marmot is the largest of our ground squirrels, a close relative of the woodchuck of the East and Midwest.

The yellow-bellied marmot is a heavy-set, grizzled brown animal with white patches on the chin and (as the name suggests) a yellowish belly. Marmots can be waddling fat in the fall, and their long fur makes them look even fatter. Adults are about 26 inches long and weigh up to about 11 pounds.

Predators include the coyote, badger, bobcat, golden eagle, hawks, owls, weasels and marten. However, predation probably is a less important cause of mortality than is the stress of hibernation. Marmots are protected by a rocky habitat and a social system of alarm calls.

Range: Marmots are widespread in western North America. Marmots are often associated with alpine meadows, but they actually live in suitable habitat down to the lower foothills.

Habitat: Marmots burrow deep into the soil beneath boulders to den. Up to half of their summer weight is lost during hibernation; animals with insufficient fat, or a burrow too shallow to prevent freezing, do not arouse in the spring.

Diet: Preferred foods are flowering stalks, but marmots eat the leaves of a variety of grasses and forbs.

Reproduction: After hibernation, the marmot emerges to mate as soon as green forage is available. After a 30-day gestation period, approximately five offspring are born. They are weaned at 20 to 30 days. A single male maintains a territory with a harem of several females, yearlings, and young of the year.
By David M. Armstrong
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Environmental Studies Program, University Museum of Natural History
University of Colorado-Boulder
mausmann@aol.com

Photos / Sounds

What

red columbine Aquilegia canadensis

Observer

mngross

Date

June 9, 2010

Description

Information provided by

http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=AQCA

Aquilegia canadensis L.
Eastern red columbine, Wild red columbine
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
USDA Symbol: AQCA
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

This is an erect, branching perennial, up to 2 ft. tall, well-known for its showy flowers. A nodding, red and yellow flower with upward spurred petals alternating with spreading, colored sepals and numerous yellow stamens hanging below the petals. The compound leaves, divided into round-lobed threes, are attractive in their own right.

This beautiful woodland wildflower has showy, drooping, bell-like flowers equipped with distinctly backward-pointing tubes, similar to the garden Columbines. These tubes, or spurs, contain nectar that attracts long-tongued insects and hummingbirds especially adapted for reaching the sweet secretion. It is reported that Native Americans rubbed the crushed seeds on the hands of men as a love charm. European Columbine (A. vulgaris), with blue, violet, pink, or white short-spurred flowers, was introduced from Europe and has now become well established in many parts of the East. Aquilegia canadensis readily hybridizes with the popular Southwestern yellow columbines (A. chrysantha, etc.), yielding some striking yellow-and-red color combinations in the flowers. This genus has been referred to as the flower for the masses. Once started, Columbine propagates for years and, although perennial, increases rapidly by self seeding. (Andy Fyon)

The genus name Aquilegia comes from the Latin aquila which means eagle and refers to the spurred petals that many believe resemble an eagles talons.

Photos / Sounds

What

Colorado Blue Columbine Aquilegia caerulea

Observer

mngross

Date

July 7, 2010

Description

Information provided by

http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=AQCA2

Aquilegia caerulea James
Colorado blue columbine, Rocky Mountain columbine
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
Synonyms: Aquilegia coerulea
USDA Symbol: AQCA2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

The large, upright, blue and white flowers of this popular wildflower are long-spurred and rise above deeply cut, light-green foliage. This short-lived perennial grows 1-2 ft. tall.

Colorados state flower. Popular in cultivation, with several color phases and doubled flowers. Hybridization with other species has produced further cultivated variants. Phases in the wild with pale or white sepals are frequent. A species with blue sepals and white petal tips, but only 2-8 (5-20 cm) tall, is Alpine Blue Columbine (A. saximontana), whose blue spurs are hooked at the tip; it grows high in the Colorado mountains.

The genus name Aquilegia comes from the Latin aquila which means eagle and refers to the spurred petals that many believe resemble an eagles talons.

Photos / Sounds

What

Broad-tailed Hummingbird Selasphorus platycercus

Observer

mngross

Date

August 1, 2012

Description

Female Broad-tailed Hummingbird

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What

Rocky Mountain Mule Deer Odocoileus hemionus ssp. hemionus

Observer

mngross

Date

August 8, 2012

Description

Information provided by

http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/Profiles/Mammals/Pages/Deer.aspx

Description: There are two species of deer in Colorado. Mule deer "mulies" have rope-like tails, evenly forked antlers and extravagant ears. White-tails have smaller ears, antlers with a single main beam bearing smaller tines, and , of course, broad white tails. Mule deer bound with stiff-legged gait, the tail held down; white-tails move with a graceful lope, the flag-like tail held erect.

Both species of deer are four to six feet long and stand three feet or more high at the shoulder. Weights of large bucks range over 400 pounds, but does are only half that size. Adult males begin to grow antlers in spring, used in a clash for dominance and breeding rights in autumn. Antlers are then shed in winter.

Range: Mule deer are abundant statewide. White-tails have become increasingly common in streamside woodland and nearby crop lands along the rivers of the eastern plains.

Habitat: Mule deer occupy any "edge" habitat, including suburban residential areas.

White-tail deer fawn. Photo courtesy of the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.Diet: Deer are browsers, feeding mostly on woody vegetation, including twigs and leaves of shrubs and trees, including ornamentals. They also forage on crops, especially corn. Because they eat little grass, they tend not to compete seriously with livestock or elk.

Reproduction: Deer breed from October to December. After a gestation period of six and a half months, spotted young (usually twins) are born. Deer are frequent traffic casualties, and mountain lions, coyotes and packs of feral dogs prey upon them. Licensed hunters take 50,000 to 80,000 deer annually in the state from a population estimated at 700,000 animals statewide.

Photos / Sounds

What

American Black Bear Ursus americanus

Observer

mngross

Date

June 13, 2012

Description

Information provided by

http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/Profiles/Mammals/Pages/BlackBear.aspx

Description: Black bears are familiar to everyone, and with the demise of the grizzly bear they are the largest of Colorado's carnivores. Although called black bears, they can be honey-colored, blond, brown, cinnamon or black. They may have a tan muzzle or white spot on the chest. Although brown or cinnamon-colored bears are sometimes mistaken for grizzly bears, there are no known grizzlies living in Colorado.

Adult females are called sows, adult males are called boars, and youngsters are called cubs.

Adult males weigh from 275 pounds. Females weight about 175 pounds. Depending on the season, food supply and gender, black bears may weigh anywhere from 100 to 450 pounds. Black bears measure about 3 feet high when on all four feet. They can be 5 feet tall when standing on back legs.

Cubs stay with the mother bear for their first year, denning with the mother and littermates over the winter. By the time of their second spring, they will be self-reliant and will separate from their mother by the second autumn.

Range: In Colorado, the largest populations of black bears live in areas where there is Gambel’s oak and aspen, near open areas of chokecherry and serviceberry bushes. A black bear may have a range from 10 to 250 square miles.

Diet: Black bears learn to eat natural foods, such as berries, nuts and insects, as they are taught to forage by mother bears. People who live or camp in bear country need to be sure they don’t teach bears to become “garbage” bears by careless handling of food, scraps and garbage. Bears who find human food, even once, can change their habits to seek food from human residences and trash cans. Most bears seen in residential areas near or within bear habitat do not cause any damage. If a bear doesn’t find abundant food, it will move on.

Reproduction: Male bears are capable of breeding when they are 3 years old. Some female bears breed as early as 3 or 4 years of age, but 5 years is more common. After a 2-3 months of gestation, 1 to 3 tiny cubs are born mid-winter, typically while the mother is still in the den. Newborn cubs – weighing less than a pound at birth -- are blind, toothless and covered with very fine hair. When they emerge from the den in early or mid-May, they will weigh 10 to 15 pounds.

Photos / Sounds

What

American Pika Ochotona princeps

Observer

mngross

Date

August 8, 2012

Description

Information provided by

http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/finder/americanpika/americanpika.html

American Pika

The American pika, a small flower-gathering relative of the rabbit, may be one of the first mammals in North America known to fall victim to global warming if heat-trapping emissions are not reduced soon.
American pikas are typically found in rocky areas, called talus, within alpine regions of the western United States and southwestern Canada. Many hikers, while passing through pika habitat in these rocky areas, have heard these shy creatures call and whistle to each other.

Since food is difficult to obtain in winter in the alpine environment, pikas cut, sun-dry, and later store vegetation for winter use in characteristic 'hay piles.' They are often called 'ecosystem engineers' because of their extensive haying activities.

According to research, global warming appears to have contributed to local extinctions of pika populations. American pikas may be the 'canary in the coal mine' when it comes to the response of alpine and mountain systems to global warming. Find out how you can become part of the solution to global warming and help American pikas.
Physical Features

American pikas are smaller relatives of hares and rabbits, but have short, round ears. They are grayish-to-brown mammals frequently seen hunched up on boulders of nearly the same color. They have no visible tail and typically measure 6 1/5 to 8 1/2 inches and weigh between 4 and 6 1/3 ounces.
Diet

American pikas feed primarily on grasses and herbs. Since food is difficult to obtain in winter in the alpine environment, pikas cut, sun-dry, and later store vegetation for winter use in characteristic 'hay piles' on a rock in talus areas, and pikas are sometimes observed gathering wildflowers.
Habitat and Distribution

American pikas live where few people ever go--they are usually found in rocky areas, called talus, within alpine regions of the western United States and southwestern Canada. They may be spotted among some of the talus slopes along trails and roads in Glacier National Park; also in Crater Lake, Kings Canyon, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mount, Sequoia, Yellowstone, and Yosemite National Parks.
Behavior

Pikas have a vocal repertoire that consists of a series of peculiar short squeaks. They are active only by day and do not hibernate in winter. Pikas are colonial, and each pika has its territory within the colony.

American pikas are often called 'ecosystem engineers' because of their extensive haying activities. They breed in spring and possibly in summer, and their young are born between May/June and July/August, usually with between two and five in a litter. The gestation period is about 30 days.
Threats

Research suggests that American pikas are particularly vulnerable to global warming because they reside in areas with cool, relatively moist climates like those normally found in their mountaintop habitat. As temperatures rise due to increasing emissions of CO2 and other heat-trapping gases, many montane animals are expected to seek higher elevations or migrate northward in an attempt to find suitable habitat. Living essentially on high-elevation islands means that American pikas in these regions have little option for refuge from the pressures of climate change because migration across low-elevation valleys represents for them an incalculably high risk - and perhaps an impossibility under current climate regimes. Results from a new study suggest that climate may be interacting with other factors such as proximity to roads and smaller habitat area to increase extinction risk for pikas, creating detrimental synergistic effects.
American Pika Research

According to recent research by USGS ecologist Dr. Erik Beever, global warming appears to have contributed to local extinctions of pika populations in the Great Basin area - the area between the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains - during the last part of the 20th century.
American pikas disappeared from seven of twenty-five studied areas. WWF is funding the re-sampling of these pika populations to find out how they vary across shorter time scales. If the global warming trend is not reversed soon through a significant reduction in emissions of CO2 and other heat-trapping gases, population losses of the American pika may lead to the animal's disappearance.

Previous research results suggested that American pikas are particularly vulnerable to global warming because they reside in areas with cool, relatively moist climates like those normally found in mountaintop habitats. As temperatures rise due to increasing emissions of heat-trapping gases, many alpine animals are expected to seek higher elevations or migrate northward in an attempt to find suitable habitat. Yet, American pikas in these regions have little option for escape from the pressures of climate change because migration across low-elevation valleys represents an incalculably high risk-and perhaps an impossibility under current climate regimes-for them. Results from the study suggest that climate may be interacting with other factors such as proximity to roads and smaller habitat area to increase extinction risk for pikas, creating harmful synergistic effects.

The pikas' particular vulnerability to global warming is due to several factors. American pikas cannot easily migrate in response to climate change, as their habitat is currently restricted to small, disconnected habitat "islands" in numerous mountain ranges. Although talus within mountain ranges is often more continuous, this is not always the case; some ranges only have habitable talus at lower elevations or in broadly separated patches. Furthermore, American pikas generally do not appear to move large distances, as many individuals may spend their entire lifespan within a half-mile radius. Pikas do not inhabit burrows which could mitigate extreme temperatures and are highly active aboveground during the hottest months of the year. In the warmer months, pikas must cure vegetation for their overwinter survival as pikas are active year-round and food is scarce in winter in the alpine environment. Earlier maturation of vegetation associated with global warming may mean increased stress for pikas, and hotter temperatures during high activity periods can create direct thermal stress on the animals. Pikas are densely furred, and thus cannot dissipate heat easily.

Photos / Sounds

What

White-tailed Ptarmigan Lagopus leucura

Observer

mngross

Date

August 24, 2012

Description

Information provided by

http://wildlife.state.co.us/Viewing/Features/Pages/ViewingPtarmigan.aspx

Would you choose to inhabit a treeless mountaintop where bitter cold, gale-force winds desiccate the landscape and the average year-round temperature is about 26 degrees Fahrenheit? The white-tailed ptarmigan (pronounced TAR-mﬞi-gan) is one of the few animals that takes on this unique challenge and, in fact, has the distinction of being the only bird species in Colorado that lives on or near the alpine tundra year-round. And, of the three species of ptarmigan living in North America, only the white-tailed ptarmigan is found in Colorado.

During the breeding season (April to May), male ptarmigans seek out the snowless areas of the alpine tundra to begin claiming territory. Shortly thereafter, females arrive and pair bonding begins. Once a pair has bonded and mated, the female creates a nest “scrape” on the ground, using feathers and vegetation to form a protective rim for the eggs. By mid-summer, female ptarmigans can be seen with broods of 4-8 chicks feeding on the succulent buds and leaves of dwarf willow and other alpine plants. Short summers on the treeless tundra require young birds to mature quickly. By mid-October, flocks of females and juveniles begin to move downslope to more protected areas. In locales where the tundra is especially barren and exposed, males will also seek refuge at lower elevations. To escape winter’s bitter-cold winds ptarmigans will bury themselves in snow banks.

Alpine tundra offers good wildlife viewing opportunities because of the lack of trees. However, animals that live in this open environment can also see you—and are well camouflaged to avoid detection. A master of disguise, the ptarmigan changes color with the seasons, turning from mottled brown/gray in summer to pure white in winter. To blend in with the landscape, ptarmigans also lie very still when approached, fleeing only when they are nearly stepped on! Take the time to focus, closely, on the terrain as you travel the tundra in the summer. To locate ptarmigan look for movement (a female herding young), nest scrapes, the white tail (remains white all year long), and colors or patterns that don’t quite fit the background.

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