Twitch That Nose!

This gallery contains 3 photos. By far, Columbian Ground Squirrels are the most entertaining wildlife at Manning Park, and the first ones to greet us in the parking lot of Manning Park Resort. They were certainly much more visible “greeters” to the area than the Hoary Marmots (which we did not see) and the diminutive Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrels (which we often glimpsed scrambling for their hidey-holes). Photographed on June 5.

Columbian Ground Squirrelthis one is quite comfortable with my lens (probably expecting a tasty treat).
f/8, 1/250, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 250

These Prairie Dogs of the West were positioned near their network of holes in the ground (or in rotted tree stumps) and often called to others in an upright position like meerkats or groundhogs (when they weren’t eating voraciously; chasing each other around; or kissing). Kissing, incidentally, is how they say hello to each other.

Columbian Ground Squirrelone (of two) reasons not to leave your picnic table unguarded!
f/6.3, 1/400, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 250.

We found plenty of these Seven Sleepers at Manning Park Resort and Lightning Lake (particularly near the picnic tables). Columbian Ground Squirrels spend virtually every moment of the short summer days bulking up on fat reserves (they look like balloons at the end of summer) for their hibernation period, which lasts for seven months! Once they emerge from their long winter slumber, they are quite gaunt and ravenously hungry.

Columbian Ground Squirrelnow this is a face that’s hard to resist.
f/8, 1/1000, 150-500mm telephoto, 370mm, ISO 500

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60 thoughts on “Twitch That Nose!

  1. Lovely close-ups. Our squirrels are around all year round, except in the worst of cold weather. They are a constant source of entertainment as they try over and over to get to the bird seed in our feeder. I always leave them a little on the ground and bring them acorns from Virginia in the fall.

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    • oh, they try very hard to get into our bird feeders, too — and fail quite spectacularly and comically, too! no acorns here, though … no one in the neighbourhood seems to grow oaks. our squirrels have to settle for the seeds we leave for the ground foraging birds. 🙂

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  2. OMG…too much cuteness for one morning! 😀 I have a love-hate relationship with squirrels but I always think they’re cute. LOL! I can’t remember the last time I was at Manning Park, but it’s good to know there are at least 3 different ground rodents there to watch out for if/when we head there soon. 🙂

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  3. Those are both so cute. I was surprised by the prairie dog’s wicked-looking toe nails, though. I’m thinking that cuteness could have a dark side if you bothered one of them! Ha ha

    I remember a lady at a nature preserve who had a “pet” prairie dog in a cage. It was such a glutton for treats and for having its ears scratched, and it made the cutest sounds when she rubbed its ears. After that I used to think, “I wish I had a pet prairie dog.” But now, after seeing those nails…I’m not so sure!

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  4. What beautiful little critters they are and you have done a splendid job of capturing them …. love the bokeh and the low angle you have used. Just wondered what gear is that … the 150-500 lens? I have a Sigma for my Canon gear
    Thanks for sharing your wildlife…we do not have squirrels in Australia

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  5. These are adorable, never seen one in Canada, only squirrels and marmots everywhere. Marmots were impressive, compared to our European marmots they were much bigger and fluffier, gorgeous shades too 🙂 I’d like to see these ground squirrels once, they look curious and friendly 🙂

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    • thank you! they do know how to milk that cheekiness to their advantage! 🙂 fast moving wildlife is difficult to capture with point-and-shoot cameras; an entry-level DSLR is recommended, but even then, maybe 1-2% of my action shots are actually publishable! 🙂

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