Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The season has begun!

We (Gabi, Dana, Gina, Jazmine, and Dan) skied/snowshoed into RMBL on the 17th to start the 2017 field season. It was a beautiful day to come in and the very heavy winter snow has been melting at a furious pace. Nevertheless, the entire road was covered and we made good time coming in.

On the 17th, we looked throughout town and down valley for signs of marmots and found none. Typically marmots first emerge down valley before up-valley. But, because males in multi-male colony sites have to engage in reproductive competition, we might expect earlier emergence this year up-valley...which is what in fact we found.

On the 18th we found that individuals in several up-valley colonies had either just (Marmot Meadow) or had already (Picnic) emerged. Gabi, Gina and Jazmine also found two coyotes lounging around burrows at Picnic waiting for marmots to come out and we know that coyotes are always a good judge of marmot activity.

Yesterday, the 18th, was also HOT. According to billy's records, there were new record high temperatures on the 12th, 13th, 17th and 18th. Dana and I certainly felt the heat while we were hauling in a load of supplies from the trailhead.

Today, the 19th is a snow day. But unlike previous years, it's a wet sleet. Combined with the hot temperatures, this is a really weird spring. April and May always have bouts of storms, but April has been very clear recently and wet snow/sleet in mid-April is, ahem, a sign of the new times I fear.

Nothing is accumulating but nothing seems to be melting either. I think we'll be socked in for the next few days.  In our experience marmots don't really emerge on snowy days...but it would be good to get out during some breaks and continue to look for activity in town and down valley...we'll see. Good time to catch up and clean up a blister...

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