Pika

A little Pika peeking out from the last of winters snow surveying his domain.

The numbers of Pika are decreasing across the Western United States and climate change, habitat loss and other factors are likely involved. Hearing their chirps while hiking in the mountains is a sound I enjoy and I hope it does not just become a memory.

https://academic.oup.com/jmammal/article/97/6/1495/2628942
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180501085303.htm

19 thoughts on “Pika

  1. Hi Mike,
    Am I right in thinking your Gravatar picture is a Comma butterfly? I hadn’t really looked that closely until today, as I managed to capture one (a Comma butterfly that is) during my walk yesterday. It was the first time I’d seen one in our valley, so it made my day. 🙂 (A post is imminent).

    1. HI and yes that is a comma for our gravitas photo. We have had an explosion of comma’s around here since the snow finally melted last week. They are very abundant right now. We have taken quite a few photos and are trying to determine the exact species of comma but it is difficult for my untrained eye. Looking forward to your post. It seems the comma is rare for you and I am wondering if it is rare just in your specific region or rare in general?

      1. My book seems to suggest it’s widespread across Europe, including southern England. So it must be quite common. It’s habitat is “woodland clearings, often damp places”, so maybe that’s why I saw it further down the valley as it’s mainly conifers here rather than deciduous. We have also had a lot of snow this winter, so maybe they thrive on that (or their predators don’t!) Either way it’s always nice to spot something new.
        For info. my book covers only Europe, but it names 3 species: the Comma (Polygonia c-album), the Southern Comma (Polygonia egea), which is mainly around S. France, Italy, Greece and Turkey and a False Comma (Nymphalis vaualbum) which looks like a cross with a Totoiseshell. Apparently the name comes from the white ‘comma’ on the underwing, though the Southern variety is more like a V apparently. Hope this all helps. 🙂

        1. Hi we also had tons of snow this winter and it actually just melted off last week where we were seeing the abundance of Commas. Many were feeding on sap being produced from Birch trees. It is alway nice when you get a view of them with the wings folded up and can see the comma.

      2. Further to my previous comment, I’ve just rediscovered this website (albeit only covering Switzerland and it’s in French, but with pictures and Latin names which helps tremendously 🙂 ), which shows the distibution of all the butterflies found here.
        https://www.lepido.ch/cartes-de-distribution/97-documentation/cartes-distribution/460-distribution-tortues-vanesses-et-
        The link takes you to the page with the Comma on it and you can see it’s widespread across the country. The maps are under Documentation – Distribution and I live in the middle of that bulbous area to the south-west (called the Valais on a normal map). Enjoy!

        1. Hi and tanks for the link and information. We have at least three types of Comma present in our state the Eastern, Satyr and the Hoary and I think it will just take more photos and a bit of time to sort out exactly which I am seeing.

          Wishing you a wonderful week.

  2. This is honestly the first time I have learned of a Pika. That is how we feel about our little chipmunks. Great photo Mike. I am going to go read about the Pika now. Have a great weekend!

    1. HI and I am glad we could introduce you to these little guys. They have always been a companion high up on the tundra and I sure hope they are not another casualty of humanities march towards a world with less not more.

  3. Having three lagos living among us, we are particularly fond of pikas. They are a whole lot of personality in a tiny package! Adorable shot; would love to see one in the wild one day.

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