While I was watching the White-tailed Ptarmigan at Medicine Bow Curve, I heard one of the other birders refer to a phalarope. I looked up to see a medium-sized shorebird flying back and over the tundra. It circled and landed in a small puddle that was about the size of a one-car garage. For the next 15 minutes or so, it swam and waded around the edges. It was a Wilson’s Phalarope. I think it’s a female, but I’m not positive.
As I headed back to my car, a Yellow-bellied Marmot watched me walk past.
Earlier in the morning, I’d passed a herd of Elk relaxing in the grass along both sides of Trail Ridge Road. The ptarmigan was my goal for the day, so I didn’t stop. I did take a video as I went by. This is a freeze-frame from that video.
They were still there as I left, and this time I stopped and got out to get some photos.
This one looks like its head is on backward.
Calves. There were six or seven on one side of the road with several cows. most of the Elk on the other side of the road were males.
The one in front has a huge collar around its neck that makes it look like a pet.