Thursday, June 16, 2016

Marmots on the move

It's that time of year again; marmots are on the move!  This morning, while holding a banana and looking outside my cabin window at the scenery, I saw a marmot!  Marmots don't typically live on the hillside where our cabin is located and I think we were both equally surprised--his tail hair was piloerect and he reared up and looked at me while I stood motionless looking for ear tags. After a long look at each other, I peeled my banana and he ran under the porch. A few minutes later I saw the same marmot exploring the area outside my kitchen window while I was washing up my breakfast dishes. But it was when he was outside my bedroom window, fossicking around our wood pile that I snapped this picture.  No ear tags, beautiful pelage, glorious tail!  Marmots are on the move again, looking for places to settle in.  I suspect it's a he (shape of head), and he's a 2 or 3-year old male looking for a colony to invade.  Remarkably, about 5-10 min later, we spotted him 500 m down valley, coursing through two different marmot colonies, exploring burrows and moving on quickly.  We lost him as he moved towards an occupied burrow, but soon after heard alarm calls coming from that area. If he sticks around, he'll get ear tags and a mark so we can identify him from afar.  I hope he does!

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