Outdoors


Critter Watch: Rare sightings

SUNDAY, MAY 14, 2006

Skiers exploring the Kettle Range south of Sherman Pass in March came across this ptarmigan for a rare winter sighting in the area. 
 (Randy Ostman)
Skiers exploring the Kettle Range south of Sherman Pass in March came across this ptarmigan for a rare winter sighting in the area. (Randy Ostman)

Rare sightings

Moose have reached another milestone in their expansion throughout Spokane County and the Inland Northwest.

Alces Alces andersoni has been officially added to the unusually varied fauna and flora of the Dishman Hills Natural Area, association members reported last month. Even when you can’t actually see the moose, the evidence is hard to miss, they said.

Ptarmigan in their snow-white winter plumage are difficult to spot in the snowy months. That explains why Chris Loggers of Colville Forest was excited to see a photo that backcountry skier Randy Ostman snapped in March near the Snow Peak Shelter south of Sherman Pass.

The crest of the Kettle River Mountains is a hot spot, if you can call it that, for seeing white-tailed ptarmigans at the southernmost range of the species, although few winter sightings have been recorded.

“Most of the sightings are in the summer by the members of the Washington Ornithological Society who venture into those high-altitude places,” said Spokane Auduboner Jim Acton of Spokane. “You’re not going to drive a car into where they are.”



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