I met up with Russ in Mackenzie and we headed up a decent enough road to Morphee Mountain. After Pink Mountain, this road was a piece of cake, and soon we were up at the top checking the alpine willow area for a Ptarmigan. The view was pretty amazing.
|The view from up here|
Russ had seen the Ptarmigan recently, and when we played a call, it didn't take long to hear it's weird alien clucking. It flew in to check us out, majestically gliding past the both of us into the willow scrub. We pursued it a bit more to get some better looks, but I decided looks were all I nee
As we walked back to the car, Russ heard a buzzy call, we both thought Gray-cheeked but my pessimism passed it off as an overzealous Hermit Thrush. No way I could be so lucky as to get a Gray-cheeked Thrush as well. And I have heard Hermit Thrush do a good impression of their call. But then it sang, and there was no mistaking that fuzzed out song.
I almost felt in shock. In one day I had a Bay-breasted Warbler, a Nelson's Sparrow, and now both Gray-cheeked and Willow Ptarmigan, two BC lifers and two hard to gets for the year. I had already given up the thought of Gray-cheeked when I couldn't find them at Stone Mountain. Any birder would be happy to find one of these in a day, and here i had seen all four, definitely don't think I can match a day as good as this.
The credit though must go to my guides. These 4 would not have been attained if it wasn't for them, and I was very grateful there are good helpful birders out there willing to share their knowledge and time.
Russ was good enough to let me crash at his hotel, and the next morning I was off for one last twitch in the south Okanagan. I didn't do much birding on the way, just a few stops looking for Rusty Blackbird.