Well I'm finally getting back into the swing of being home but the time in Alaska was great! I find that as I go through my lists and pictures I end up with questions I'm not prepared to answer, so I thought I'd throw out a puzzle to see if all you folks in the cyber universe might have some insights. I photographed this female ptarmigan in Ketchamek Bay State Park on June 28th. She had at least 4 chicks with her at the time. The habitat was relatively thick forest of mixed broadleaf and spruce trees. I made the initial identification to be a Willow Ptarmigan based on habitat but I don't feel very comfortable putting this on a life list based on that criteria. The other possibility might be Rock Ptarmigan. The females are supposed to be difficult to impossible to separate. So I ask you dear readers to weigh in on the identification of this female bird based on the four (marginal) photos below. Any insights will be appreciated.
This is the best photo I got.
A close up of her profile.
A look at her back and tail.
Another shot from behind.
I hope everyone keeps visiting this blog now that I'm back. The southward migration in Minnesota has already started with shorebirds beginning to show up in flooded fields and sewage treatment lagoons. More tomorrow!