Ptarmigan can change their feathers depending on the season, and during the winter, some can be almost entirely white.
As they blend into their surroundings so well, they are often heard before they are spotted.
These are mountain-top birds, so the day will involve a hike up to see them. The ascent may take a couple of hours if the conditions are slippery under foot.
It can be quite an effort to reach them, but they are most definitely worth it.
Plus along the way, red grouse, snow buntings, mountain hares, reindeer and even golden eagles may be encountered.
Pete will look for signs of the birds as you ascend the mountain, and once some are located, will advise on how to approach, based on his own experience of this fieldcraft. It depends on the birds and their tolerance though, as they will be very flighty if something like an eagle is soaring overhead.
If the ptarmigan are in the right mood, and are comfortable with your presence, then Pete will suggest angles for images, and advise on how close you might be able to get to the birds.
Yes, as the birds live near the summit of the mountains, the weather is a key factor when determining whether to begin the ascent. Strong winds, rain and snow would make photography nigh on impossible, and it would be dangerous to be up there. Also, in very windy conditions, the birds are on high alert, which makes approaching them very difficult.
Conditions under-foot must also be considered, as it might be too dangerous to attempt the hike up the mountainside.
Pete will offer an alternative day out should the weather or conditions force a cancellation for seeing the ptarmigan.
Provided Pete is available for the new date(s) and sufficient notice is given for the change of date, then yes.
Any deposit or money paid for a booking cannot be refunded should the booking need to be cancelled.
Thanks for a great time looking for mountain hares and ptarmigan - I've got a good set of pics so I'm well pleased.
Hope the rest of your work in the Cairngorms goes well.
All the best,