Our first real target was HIMALAYAN SNOWCOCK which is only found in the Ruby Mountains of Nevada. I had only seen this species once before (and that was in August or something) so we didn't really know what we were doing. There are surprisingly-few April eBird records of this year-round resident but we ventured up anyway. The scenery is still spectacular in April:
Another thing that became evident was that Ashley was having a good day spotting things! Look at the above photo and imagine a lone chicken sitting on one of those mountain tops. Then look below at what Ashley spotted while scoping for snowcocks from that very spot:
Yes indeed, she found her lifer snowcock from like a mile or two away! It was also fun to hear this species calling repeatedly (which we were able to do from the Glacier Overlook).
We poked around a few other spots in Lamoille Canyon and enjoyed things like SAGE THRASHERS, BREWER'S SPARROWS, BLACK ROSY-FINCHES, CANYON WRENS, and this adult GREAT HORNED OWL sitting guard over one of its youngsters (evidenced here by a ball of down):
It didn't take long before Ashley continued her sharp-eyes exhibit and spotted a distant WHITE-TAILED PTARMIGAN foraging next to some skiers. We investigated further. It's a mostly white bird in a mostly white landscape but when you see it properly, it's a really freaking cool species:
here) but we were glad we did; we saw things like UPLAND SANDPIPER and a nice variety of other shorbs. We had enough fun that we returned the next morning (checklist here) and saw some species we missed the evening before. We left Saline County with a new county list of 58.
One of our last stops was in eastern Kansas. To be more exact, we briefly spun through Manhattan where both Ashley and I lived. It was fantastic to see the Flint Hills once again (although it was a cold and blustery day):