Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 08/20/2016

Photo taken on August 19, 2016

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Anne Elliott
Fish Creek Park
Richardson's Ground Squirrel
Shannon Terrace
Urocitellus richardsonii
picket pin
19 August 2016
prairie gopher
yellow gopher
side view
wild animal
flicker tail

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Don't call me 'Gopher'

Don't call me 'Gopher'
Three days ago, on 17 August 2016, I drove my painfully noisy vehicle for just a very short distance, as far as a local park. Each year, I tend to visit the area to look for any mushrooms, and I knew that I just couldn't miss a quick visit. Found a few fungi to photograph, so I was happy. Then I remembered that I had found mushrooms in a different part of the park in other years, so yesterday, I risked an even shorter drive to see what I could find. Everywhere was quite dry and I saw quite a few shrivelled fungi. Luckily, I came across a few that were fresher and worth photographing. So dark in the forest and many photos were not as sharp as I would have liked.

At the end of my walk, I sat at a picnic table near the parking lot and kept an eye on all the large holes in the ground, made by Richardson's Ground Squirrels. I was just about ready to give up, when I happened to look down close to my feet and there was one solitary 'Gopher' three or four feet away from me. They are such fun to watch. Returned home without running into a Police car, which could very easily have pulled me over because of the dreadful noise my car is making. Today, 20 August 2016, is day 12 since ordering my new car .... sigh.

"The Richardson’s ground squirrel is commonly called the prairie gopher, yellow gopher, flicker tail or picket pin. It was named after the naturalist John Richardson who first collected specimens of the rodent in the early 1820’s.

Ground squirrels play an important role in the ecology of Alberta’s wildlife. Ground squirrels are a major source of food for many predatory birds, mammals and reptiles. One species of raptor, the ferruginous hawk, depends almost entirely on ground squirrels to fledge their chicks. Similarly, many other species rely on ground squirrels as a major food source.

The population status of Richardson’s ground squirrels varies from year to year but is generally rated as “not at risk.” Richardson’s ground squirrels are also unregulated, which means they can be lawfully shot, trapped or otherwise removed where permitted.

Richardson’s ground squirrels spend the majority of their life underground. In their underground burrow system, they usually mate, raise their litters for the first 28 days and avoid predators (except weasels and badgers) and inclement weather (heat, cold and rain). They sleep underground from just before sunset until shortly after sunrise and hibernate for up to eight months in their burrows." Taken from link below.$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex3471

Daniel Palacin, Pam J have particularly liked this photo

Pam J
Pam J
I have real gophers here.. and its War !

Admired in ~ I ♥ Nature
2 years ago.