Spring loaded

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Spring loaded and tightly wound may be an understatement.

Back and forth and all around following the rabbit tracks this Ermine moved so fast it made us dizzy. As he hunted rabbits darted with lightening speed in every direction gravity would allow. Excitedly we watched yet feared for the rabbits lives. Yet when all was said and done we think the Winter Bunn made it out alive.  How she escaped this mighty hunter is a testament to the difficulty of finding a meal even for a hunter as fierce as the Ermine.

On the talus slope

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I never get disappointed when I hear the little chirp of a Pika moving about on the talus slopes. Always spotting us before we spot them. usually sitting still and looking out into their environment then scurrying off to collect plants for winter larder. The Pika is yet another species threaten by climate change and the focus of this short video in Smithsonian Magazine.

It is encouraging that some Pika may be showing behavior adaptation to a loss of habitat resulting from climate change but as the authors of a recent study concludes “while many species have a clear capacity to modulate behavior in relation to variations in climate parameters,much remains to be learned about the trade-offs, fitness implications, and limitations of behavioral flexibility in the context of novel climate dynamics.”

I sure hope these little guys are able to adapt to the new reality imposed upon them by our species. A walk on the talus slopes without them would be a lonely walk indeed.

One last look

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This year Chippy was a constant companion around the yard. Darting back and forth and to and fro collecting morsels to munch on and them finding the perfect perch to munch them on. We don’t see much of this guy as the temperatures cool and the flakes begin to fly so one last look was in order.