So Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow today which in theory means spring will be coming early. I’m not sure of the weather forecasting ability of the groundhog but I wouldn’t mind if that were the case. I don’t have any pictures of groundhogs of the same species as Phil but I do regular see his high-altitude cousins. This pair of marmots was gathered on the talus slopes near the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park this past summer. I wonder if they aren’t a bit envious of all the attention their cousin gets? 😉
Jumping backwards in time to July 3 for this image taken in a location you can’t get to this time of year due to the snow. High atop Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, these little guys are very entertaining as they scurry about the talus slopes.
I sat there watching this Yellow-bellied Marmot and its friends for quite a while when it decided it needed a closer look at the guy pointing the camera. Ever so cautiously it hopped over the rocks and approached me, coming to within a few feet. After giving me a good inspection with its eyes and nose, it decided I was no threat and went about its daily activities.
These high-altitude residents are tons of fun to watch and occasionally will stop their scrambling long enough to pose for a picture. Such was the case with this cutie near the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park a couple of weeks ago. It sat nice and close allowing me to get a great close up of it with a glint in its eye from the morning sun and a nice view of its coarse, warming fur.
Yellow-bellied Marmots can be found above 6,500 feet in grassland, meadows and talus fields. Here in Colorado, in my experience, they are most likely to be found near or above timberline (11,000 feet or so) and in talus fields.
These little critters are lots of fun to watch as they hop around on the talus slopes of the Rocky Mountains. This particular Yellow-bellied Marmot was quite curious about me and kept working its way closer and closer. Each time it stopped, it would hide behind a rock, peer out and then watch me for a minute or two before moving a bit closer.
Even at the start of July, it can be quite chilly at 12,000 feet so when the sun comes up, the critters emerge and enjoy the warmth. This little guy (or gal) was one of several Marmots I had an absolutely blast taking pictures of on top Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was very content to curl up on its rock and let the sun work off the morning chill.
Yellow-bellied marmot warming in the early morning sun. On a very chilly August morning at 14,000+ feet, this little one emerged with the rising sun and quickly began warming itself on the rocks. By now the marmots are much fatter and about ready to settle into their burrows and hibernate for the winter.
A mama marmot gives her offspring a bit of a sniff. What parent hasn’t done that?
Taken on August 17, 2014 at the top of Mount Evans, Colorado. If you like to sleep, you might wish you were a marmot. Yellow bellied marmots spend 80% of their lives in their burrows, 60% of which is spent sleeping.
A marmot’s bad hair day. It could be because it just woke up or perhaps the 40mph winds and 40 degree temperatures had something to do with it. Taken this past Sunday on Mount Evans, Colorado.
Yellow-bellied marmots live at high altitudes across western North America – in this case, in a rock field above 14,000 feet.
Taken on Mount Evans (Colorado) yesterday morning when the temperature was 40° and the wind howling at 40 mph. This little guy seemed pretty happy to have the sun out.
Sometimes called a ‘rock chuck,’ the yellow-bellied marmots are actually part of the squirrel family.