Marmots on Niwot Ridge
I’ve spent a lot of time using the controllable TundraCam, up on Niwot Ridge near Nederland, CO (17 miles west of Boulder). It’s at 11,600 feet, in the middle of an area of research projects, with great views of surrounding meadows, trails, mountains, and the research station itself. There’s always something to see, even if only the passing clouds. I’ve watched hikers, elk, sunsets, blizzards, etc.
This afternoon I was met with a close-up view of a nearby slope. Presumably the person before me had zoomed in to see something at that spot. At first I saw only rocks and vegetation. Then some movement caught my eye. Marmots! I saw as many as three at a time, busily darting around doing whatever marmots do on a sunny summer day. Or if not running around, then just catching rays while standing guard. At times when I moved the camera I’d swear they were watching me. Maybe they could hear the camera mechanism.
Marmots are bold little scavengers when hikers are around. More than once I’ve rested beside a trail munching gorp or a sandwich and turned to discover a marmot brazenly rifling my pack for goodies. They are about the size of squirrels or small house cats and I’ve not known them to be aggressive. Still, they have incisors that I wouldn’t argue with.
In the upper photo I’ve circled two marmots (look closely), both sitting on their haunches like prairie dogs, and the entrance to their den. In the long shot below, I’ve marked the den so you can find it for yourself if you’re interested in spectating. That’s my point, actually, because this is a live streaming cam.