Cross Country Skiing and Ptarmigans

Location: Burstall Pass, Alberta, Canada
Participants: Sarah, Mclean Patrick Latter
Time: 5 Hours
Weather: -3 °C (26.6 °F)

Directions

Drive south from Canmore on Spray Lakes road for about 45km. There will be turn off for ‘Burstall’ and a large parking lot.

Gear

  • Cross Country Skis
  • Cross Country Boots
  • Cross Country Poles
  • Food
  • Water
  • Warm ski jacket
  • Warm fleece
  • Warm socks (or 2 layers of socks)
  • Toque
  • Thermal underwear
  • Snow-pants or gaiters
  • Gloves

Story

I loved the trail we did last week so we decided to do it again but this time on cross country skis instead of snowshoes. The skis made for a much faster/easier trek, especially coming back, as it was mostly downhill.

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There weren’t to many surprises until we reached the flats and I nearly skied right over one of these guys.

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There were 7 ptarmigans following us down the trail and we hadn’t even noticed. They would run right along side us, periodically stopping at shrubs to eat.

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By | 2017-06-07T12:48:19+00:00 February 6th, 2013|Cross Country Skiing|69 Comments

69 Comments

  1. susielindau February 6, 2013 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    A ptarmigan! How cool is that!

  2. tmso February 6, 2013 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    How special to see those birds! That must have been a special day out on the snow.

  3. Jen February 6, 2013 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    That is so cool. It’s amazing what you see while hiking, snowshoeing and skiing.

    Sent from my iPad

  4. elizabeththomasphotographyofcapecod February 6, 2013 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    Wow I have never seen a bird like that before! Gorgeous image. As well as Sarah of course!

  5. Taygibay February 6, 2013 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    I love encounters with animals like that; way to go, Tay.

  6. jennjaytales February 6, 2013 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    wow never seen or heard of a ptarmigan! The things you learn from Blog Sites, oh and beautiful photos as usual.

  7. PriConnects February 6, 2013 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    Wow LOVELY photos!!

  8. John February 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    Good lookin’ little birds, and friendly too. 😉

  9. david February 6, 2013 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    Very cool. I wonder why the Ptarmigans followed you, that’s interesting.

  10. kiwiskan February 6, 2013 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    Love the bird – so cute against the snow

  11. The Kaleidoscope February 6, 2013 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    They know you are good humans who do not eat them. They like you for that and trust you.

  12. Kodiak My Little Grizzly February 6, 2013 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    Hard to see. Looks just like balls of snow

  13. FarAwayPeachGarden February 6, 2013 at 9:56 pm - Reply

    Angelic…

  14. kjpaints February 6, 2013 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    Beautiful photos!

  15. Vishvesh February 6, 2013 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    Birds are really beautiful!

  16. cythereandreams February 6, 2013 at 11:07 pm - Reply

    I’ve never heard of a “ptarmigan” before. Learned something new – thanks!

  17. crampedwriting February 6, 2013 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    Now that is what I call some serious camouflage!

  18. B.M.Green February 7, 2013 at 12:19 am - Reply

    I love the color white.

  19. GrADABOUTsteph February 7, 2013 at 12:21 am - Reply

    Wow those birds are beautiful, they’re almost invisible against the snow, if it wasn’t for their beaks and beady black eyes!

  20. mflahertyphoto February 7, 2013 at 12:54 am - Reply

    It’s been a long time since I’ve skied around ptarmigans, too long. I loved having them for company on rambles and ski trips in AK. Nice photos!

  21. valeriedavies February 7, 2013 at 1:00 am - Reply

    What incredible camouflage… does their plumage change in spring and summer???

  22. thehappydigest February 7, 2013 at 1:32 am - Reply

    Absolutely beautiful photos – thank you for sharing! 😀

  23. sukiesoriginal February 7, 2013 at 2:00 am - Reply

    Beautiful! I love ptarmigans, even though I’ve never seen one. I particularly like the photo with the group of birds, because it looks almost black and white, except for the little bit of lichen on the tree. I’m not surprised you didn’t notice the birds – they’re like little ghosts!

  24. lisakimmorley February 7, 2013 at 2:17 am - Reply

    Personally, that would be a hard exposure to get right! Love your photos 🙂

  25. kathibook February 7, 2013 at 3:54 am - Reply

    Stunning!

  26. this is lemonade February 7, 2013 at 4:06 am - Reply

    Such ethereally beautiful creatures! I have never seen anything like this. Wonderful. Simply awe-inspiring nature.

  27. claireaperez February 7, 2013 at 4:33 am - Reply

    So sweet, the little white birds:-)

  28. Chas Spain February 7, 2013 at 4:42 am - Reply

    The white on white of the cluster of ptarmigans – just exquisite

  29. LB February 7, 2013 at 5:07 am - Reply

    I have enjoyed both the snowshoeing pictures and the cross country pictures! I was able to engage in both activities when I lived in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont … not so much here in Virginia.

  30. Photography Journal Blog February 7, 2013 at 5:30 am - Reply

    Great shots of the ptarmigans.

  31. sofiacristina February 7, 2013 at 5:42 am - Reply

    Beautiful birds! They’re almost like ghosts against the snow.

  32. Justin February 7, 2013 at 7:22 am - Reply

    No wonder you didn’t notice those little sweeties! They’re perfectly snow-white. Beautiful 🙂

  33. Jason Anderson February 7, 2013 at 9:07 am - Reply

    Fantastic capture of white on white 🙂

  34. Heather February 7, 2013 at 9:20 am - Reply

    I’ve never heard of ptarmigans before, but these are very beautiful fellows!

  35. erassima February 7, 2013 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Wonderful white on white.

  36. Sheila Morris February 7, 2013 at 11:30 am - Reply

    I have never seen a snow bird in my entire 66 years so thanks so much for posting these pictures – WOW!! These birds are beautiful…

  37. Cindy February 7, 2013 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Simply amazing photography!

  38. Duchess O'Blunt February 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Duchessoblunt's Blog.

  39. David February 7, 2013 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    The ptarmigans blend in so well with the snow cover.

  40. Red Fish Agency February 7, 2013 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Red Fish Agency.

  41. elisabettabottiroli February 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    AMAZING! 🙂

  42. Tricia Booker Photography February 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    Wow, what a wonderful experience! And beautiful photos, too.

  43. markharwoodwriter February 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    I can feel the chill! Great post!

  44. michellemcnallyphotography February 7, 2013 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    Wow Beautiful Images – Especially adore the ptarmigans.

  45. Lesley February 7, 2013 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    I have never once heard of a ptarmigan until now – oh my gosh, they are beautiful! And such great photos of everything once again. I’m not sure where you find the energy to do all that you do but I’m glad you share it.

  46. Bill Jones, Jr. February 7, 2013 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    Lovely shot.

  47. Eva Taylor February 8, 2013 at 8:14 am - Reply

    How cool is that? Never heard of these guys, so cute.

  48. Paul Doherty February 8, 2013 at 8:41 am - Reply

    I like how you cpture the different tones of white between the snow and the ptarmigans. Nice Photos.

  49. taozirae February 8, 2013 at 10:30 am - Reply

    Looks cold 😉 and fun… love the birds…

  50. inkspeare February 8, 2013 at 10:42 am - Reply

    OMG, they are like snow 🙂

  51. burns4u February 8, 2013 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    Fantastic, Thanks for passing!

  52. kelihasablog February 8, 2013 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    These are great! Love the bird. 😀

  53. mydailyminefield February 8, 2013 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    How fortunate you are to see so much of nature’s beauty! Thank you for sharing with us.

  54. rea curry February 9, 2013 at 6:43 am - Reply

    really liked the photo of the ptarmigans

  55. makenzieking February 9, 2013 at 8:25 am - Reply

    Ontario’s winter is leaving much to be desired this year, I’ve only been able to get out skiing once so far, so little snow!

  56. reocochran February 9, 2013 at 9:14 am - Reply

    I love the white birds! My name is Robin and I look for birds in pictures! Thanks also for all the Canada pictures for the past months I have followed you!

  57. Vivien E. Zazzau February 10, 2013 at 9:14 am - Reply

    Never ever heard of a ptarmigan! How beautiful… Just stunning…

  58. LutheranLadies February 10, 2013 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Way cool. You make me want to get my snowshoes on. Lovely pics.

  59. Heather February 10, 2013 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    What lovely little birds!

  60. aniketsalviphotography February 10, 2013 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    Hi, I like you blog and I have nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award
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  61. thecaptainnemo February 10, 2013 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    I’d love to see ptarmigans but that still looks entirely too cold for me 🙂

  62. nikontim2012 February 11, 2013 at 7:39 am - Reply

    very nice, enjoyed the Ptarmigan pictures

  63. Betty Londergan February 11, 2013 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Boy, talk about good disguises! LOVE this!

  64. Cat Among the Pigeons February 11, 2013 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Beautiful pics of the white Ptarmigans against the snow; they are so well camouflaged. I understand in the summer their plumage turns speckly brown to camouflage against bare rock. Nature’s systems – so very clever!

  65. LizForADay February 12, 2013 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    The picture of the white birds are amazing.

  66. Aradhna February 12, 2013 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    Sweet! Talk about “as white as snow”!

  67. GMUniverse February 14, 2013 at 8:04 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on Catalyst Quotes and commented:
    This is a beautiful photograph!

  68. snowgood March 4, 2013 at 4:38 am - Reply

    Unbelievable! At the weekend I was thrilled to walk within a hundred feet of Golden Plover, I can’t believe you got this close to ptarmigan. I must get back to Canada some time soon. By the way this is easily my favourite Photography site on wordpress.

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