Readers’ wildlife photographs

Reader Joe Dickinson is back with some photos from the Rockies. By the way, my photo tank is running low, and if new ones don’t come in, I’ll have to stop this endeavor in a week. You know what to do.

Joes’s notes are indented.

Here are some photos from a recent trip to Glacier National Park in in Montana and on up to Waterton and Banff in Alberta.  Sightings of “big game” were disappointingly sparse (or distant), but I think I got a few worthwhile shots.

This Columbian ground squirrel (Citellus columbianus) was on the grounds of the historic Glacier Park Lodge.

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A few bison (Bison bison) have been introduced at Waterton, where they occupy a nice prairie habitat near the eastern edge of the park.

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We saw good numbers of both mountain goats and bighorn sheep on distant slopes, but only got reasonably close to some ewes and lambs of the latter species (Ovis canadensis).

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We saw only one elk (Cervus canadensis), but it was a nice bull.

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An interesting aside: Canada has provided overpasses for large animals at frequent intervals where the Trans-Canada Highway passes through parks.  This may help to avoid subdividing populations into smaller isolates that are more prone to loss of genetic diversity and local extinction.

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In a rock slide that forms the dam impounding Moraine Lake in Banff, I found a golden-mantled squirrel (Citellus lateralis) and an American pika (Ochotona princeps).  The squirrel struck me as paler, particularly on the flanks, than the ones I am used to seeing in California – perhaps a distinct subspecies?  As for the Pika, I felt I was playing peekaboo with him and never got a shot looking him in the eye.  Still, he is so cute that I include what I did get.

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Finally, a scenic shot of Moraine Lake, widely considered to be more beautiful than the nearby, more famous, Lake Louise.  The talus slopes on the flanks of the surrounding mountains are typical habitat for pikas.

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16 Comments

  1. Rita
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    I don’t see any bighorn sheep. Maybe one mountain goat, the others are proghorns.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      They’re bighorn sheep.

      • Rita
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        Only the first pic, others are proghorns.

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          Nope.

    • Joe Dickinson
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Decidedly not pronghorns. Note the absence of any “prongs”.

      • Rita
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        Well, they’re NOT bighorn sheep, anyway.

        • Diane G.
          Posted September 19, 2016 at 3:40 am | Permalink

          Are you perhaps confusing Bighorn Sheep with Mountain Goats? It’s an easy mistake to make, since the Mountain Goats are white & fluffy like sheep, whilst the Bighorns are short-coated like the domestic goats we see most often.

  2. rickflick
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Charming pics.

    “The squirrel struck me as paler, particularly on the flanks”

    I wonder if it might have something to do with camouflage. I assume Glacier Park has more snowfall.

  3. Heather Hastie
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Stunning lake pic! And I love the initiative of the overpasses. Cool idea.

  4. Andrea Kenner
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    I wish we’d add some overpasses here in the U.S.!

  5. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Pikas and ground squirrels are so cute!

  6. Mark R.
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I love Bison; the males’ appearance is one of musculature and power…intimidating beasties.

    Yay a Pika!!!

  7. Diane G.
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    Nice & interesting shots, Joe, thanks! I especially love the Columbian ground squirrel portrait!


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