The willow ptarmigan is the Alaska state bird and one of my favorites for a lot of reasons, some of them related to the large number of them I have killed and eaten over the past 20 years. Their plumage changes with the seasons and they are masters of camouflage once their seasonal change is complete. They make some of the most unique noises in the animal kingdom, hard to describe really, and they will sometimes explode from right underfoot as they sit tight on the ground until the last minute, relying on their ability to blend in with the surrounding terrain.
These days I no longer hunt ptarmigan - is has always just been an excuse to get outside in the winter and snowshoe around in the fresh air anyways - but photographing them is still great fun. They are gorgeous birds, and I thing the old World War II buildings make interesting backdrops to capture them "on film".