I’ve always thought of ptarmigans as being something of an anomaly. Not a time-jumping or space-hopping anomaly, like those favoured by script writers for Dr. Who and Star Trek, but an anomaly none-the-less.
Ptarmigans are birds of the high tundra and yet we can find them living in the temperate UK. Admittedly, you won’t find them everywhere and if you want to see one, then you will need to head for the Scottish Highlands. They shake off our so-called winter with barely a shrug and when dressed in full winter plumage are ideally camouflaged, making them hard to see.
Once you have huffed and puffed your way up into their living zone, not only can you watch them doing what ptarmigans do, but by exercising a bit of patience (while you get your breath back) you can sometimes get surprisingly close.
How these beautiful birds will cope as climate change progresses is uncertain, but it’s fair to say that a decline in UK numbers is likely. Meanwhile, the best that we can do is to give them some space and enjoy them while we still can.