Moose are always a treat to see, provided you are a respectful distance away.
The main target of my visit to the park was White-tailed Ptarmigan. This species is notorious for walking right up to non-birders, but often proves a challenge for those actually trying to see it. I have searched for this species in Rocky Mountain NP on several previous occasions, as well as at Glacier NP and Mt. Rainier NP. I finally connected with this bird by hiking to a site where they had been reported consistently in recent days and then scanning the tundra for about half an hour. She was quite far away, and I couldn’t get closer without leaving the trail and damaging the fragile tundra, so I made do with a distant view of this female and her four babies. This is the first lifer I have seen since January of 2018, so I was thankful for any view at all.
After finding the ptarmigan, I stopped at a large snow field to look for Brown-capped Rosy-Finches. Two lifers in one morning was a little too much to hope for, but I did find this Horned Lark, which is always a treat.
By late morning, the traffic and crowds were becoming unbearable, an unfortunate result of this park’s popularity. So I didn’t have a chance to study the small furry critters that often present themselves at close range here.
While they didn’t provide any photo opportunities, it was great to see and hear Cordilleran Flycatchers. Broad-tailed Hummingbirds were everywhere. It is always nice to experience different bird communities when traveling, even if birding is not your main goal. Now that I’m home, it’s time to start studying southbound shorebirds.