A Break From Burrowing

Jay Ryser

Lakewood, United States

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For some reason I’ve not had good luck tracking down marmots lately. I can usually approach them and have them sit still for at least a couple of shots, but for the last couple of weeks they’ve been skittish and completely uncooperative.

I have so many marmot images, I’ve been working to get something a little different. Since wildflowers are in full bloom in the high country, I was hoping to get a marmot in a clump of flowers. This is the closest I got.

It looks like he was in the process of expanding his burrow a bit. He’d disappear into a hole for a period of time with dirt flying out wildly behind him, then reemerge to survey his surroundings. He didn’t seem to mind me hanging around as long as I didn’t get too close.

Given their shared DNA with groundhogs, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that marmots are excellent diggers, even in cold, rocky alpine soil. And check out those nails that help them move earth.

I didn’t use a tripod, and accidentally had the aperture closed down further than I usually like (a bit loopy from too much time at altitude), and didn’t notice than my shutter speed was way down from usual. This seems to have turned out decently anyway. This was right around 12,000ft.

Yellow-bellied Marmot (Marmota flaviventris)
Mt Evans Wilderness Area, CO
Sony a700
Sigma 300/2.8+1.4TC

ISO400, 1/200sec, f/6.3

Artwork Comments

  • lorilee
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