Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Parental Drama

Alex took this photo of So Happy nursing her pups while having a visit from Lambda--the male we think is likely the father of her litter. DNA will ultimately be required to sort this one out but Lambda is having a really interesting (as in 'we live in interesting times...') year. His neck is scarred from fights with his father--Dandelion--and he has vocal exchanges with both So Happy and Mrs. B. Here, they're doing just that--squealing at each other--while So Happy nurses. And, let's not forget that we RARELY see nursing after the pups emerge from the burrow (we assume that they are mostly weaned). So this fascinating photo captures two things--a squabble and nursing! Great photo Alex!!!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Zia's revenge!

Zia is one of the 'phone shed friends' who lost her mom to a fox kill when RMBL was still under a deep blanket of snow. billy saw the end--where the female fox had 'little man with a mohawk' by the neck and beat her against the snow until she was dead. Shocking.

Today, Zia got her revenge.  From Gina's notes:

At 09:41 on 15 July 2019, Zia was perched and enjoying her day on Doctor's Log when the mother fox in town approached from down the road. Zia noticed the fox and rather than retreating back into her burrow, jumped off the perch, moved towards the fox, and crouched down in the vegetation waiting.  The fox noticed her movement and began to slowly approach Zia. The fox then charged Zia and Zia charged the fox resulting in a fight. The fight was fast, lasting about 5 seconds and ended by the fox whimpering while retreating away from Zia.  Zia returned to her perch, and signaled her victory with 256 alarm calls!

Moral of story: don't FOX with marmots!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Thanks CBMBA/CC!

The other day we had help from Nick and Alex digging out our traps from the wreckage that is now Marmot Meadow. The traps were beneath timber that had to be cut away and were packed in dense snow. Nick and Alex work for the Crested Butte Mt. Bike Association and the Conservation Corps maintaining trails and while they were there we collected data for an avalanche study. This year had an epic number of huge slides and by getting 20 slices from trees that were felled by the Avery slide, we provided data to the study documenting the interval between slides (this was at least a 200 year slide). The traps were not too smashed...

Welcome Andrew!

Hi I’m Andrew Evans and I’m a third year undergraduate student at UCLA with Team Marmot. I flew off from LA immediately after finals and found myself in the middle of nowhere Colorado. Although it is immensely beautiful, being from Hawaii and going to school in LA, I’ve found myself quite out of breath. And cold. 

However, it’s a fun change of pace from intensely watching marmot videos back on campus! In these first weeks here, I’ve gotten to see cute marmots playing, I’ve watched marmots alarm call for thirty minutes at seemingly nothing, I’ve felt marmot fur, and I’ve gotten to hold a cute little marmot pup named Teef. I’ve also plopped in a freezing cold river, I’ve gone to a square dance, and I’ve gotten to sit back and watch everyone play cricket in a parking lot.

Here I’m working with Dana on social transmission in the marmots, putting out puzzle boxes and seeing which ones figure it out. Although not many have figured it out, I squeal watching them so confused. I’m excited to see into these marmots’ lives and see who they are, who they know, who they hate, and figure out what exactly they’re looking at all the time!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Ahh, dispersal season again

We've been having so much fun watching yearlings play...a very important thing for their development, but alas, this will all come to an end soon. Soon there will be new litters to catch and mark and the current crop of yearlings...most of them...will disperse.  Shannon, RMBL's GIS guru sent me this photo of the LAZY way to disperse...

Yup, that's a marmot in her Subaru...

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Things are looking up...

The road to Gothic was formally opened yesterday and the valley is transformed! Down valley Spring has arrived and we're about to resume trapping. Up valley it's still winter (the road is closed and we're skiing to sites) and we've been trying to re-mark a few unmarked individuals but marmots are STILL emerging from hibernation only to find nothing to eat. There are multiple bears up there and Gina saw a mountain lion running across a meadow the other day!

With the road open we have all sorts of visitors, including this fella that Sam and I had appear about 20-30 m in front of us while we were wondering what the marmots at River Mound were calling at.

Question answered!

The deer have just returned to Gothic. 4 does ran nervously into town and set off L this morning. Why do marmots alarm call in response to deer? I have no idea!

Meanwhile, Dandelion continues his rule of the roost. Young from two different litters (Stitches and WiFi) were foraging near each other around the Gothic Community Center and got into a vocal squabble beneath a parked car. Dandi, tail flagging away, ran over, and disciplined each of them in turn. No more squabbles! I've NEVER seen this happen before. Very cute.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Still snowy!

I'm back in the field after leaving my well-trained crew in the field for the past month and a half. Up valley is still very winter-like. Down valley is finally (and oh-so-slowly) melting out. We have a lot of animals down valley and folks have been seeing some GREAT social behavior. Up valley there are a lot of predators--at least two bears (one with triplets!) and Gina saw a Mt. lion today!!! The marmots are emerging more slowly--which is a good thing given all the snow. I expect late litters...

This is going to be one-hellofa wildflower year. Since I hope we're beyond late season freezes and the flower have not really started blooming there will be no early season killing frosts. So once the growing season starts in a big way, it's going to be a big flower year.  Book your tickets now to the Colorado high country.

We're waiting with baited breath for the road to open next week; I walked in today. Much to do... More as we have more to share!