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White-tailed Ptarmigan | by nickathanas
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White-tailed Ptarmigan

Lagopus leucura altipetens

 

Loveland Pass, Colorado

 

This bird was totally fearless of people, which allowed me to get down nice and low for a great angle. Definitely one of my favorite photos of all time, even though I am much more at home in tropical areas. At 12000 ft./3660 m., it takes a long time for the snow to melt. This photo was taken on May 1st, but it still looked like the middle of winter, and this ptarmigan had barely begun to molt into it's mostly brown summer plumage.

 

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Taken on May 1, 2011