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Ready for the Snow (Plumage)... White-Tailed Ptarmigan?

Hiking high in the Hoover wilderness on an idyllic warm day (perhaps the nicest day I’ve ever seen this late in this area), I flushed half a covey of these birds, but some stayed put. By freezing and moving very slowly, I was able to get some shots with the Otus 85 as the birds cautiously accepted my presence and even resumed feeding. But it’s no easy task to photograph moving subjects with the Otus 85 (manual focus with razor thin depth of field).

I think these are white-tailed ptarmigan, but that’s a guess. I’ve never seen them before in all my hiking in the Sierra.

Plumage Swap for Winter Snow
Nikon D810 + Zeiss Otus 85/1.4 APO-Planar @ f/13

The water is so low that dozens and sometimes hundreds of trout are trapped in small pools. Hiking by, the water goes alive in some shallow pools (sometimes the trout panic to the point of flipping right out of the water onto the bank). A fish-eating raptor could have a field day. This pool is relatively large and deep compared to many of the much shallower ones in which trout are trapped. This situation exists all over the Eastern Sierra due to the drought. Some trout are seen spawning in water so shallow their backs are at times out of the water.

Brook Trout trapped in Pool
Nikon D810 + Zeiss Otus 85/1.4 APO-Planar @ f/13

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