Posts Tagged ‘mt. herman’

American Pika (Ochotona princeps taylori)

american pika ochotono princeps taylori on talus slope
American Pika
(Ochotona princeps taylori)
-click to enlarge-

   This is a photograph I made of an American Pika (Ochotona princeps taylori) yesterday on the Chain Lakes Trail in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. I walked through the talus next to Bagley lake (4350 feet/1325 meters in elevation) and had not even thought about Pika until I heard the short squeaks of their warning calls. I could then see a few individuals scurrying from their rock perches to safety. This particular Pika came back out to sit on the rock, and I was able to slowly move closer to it to get this photograph. I took many, because you never know when wildlife is going to decide “okay, that is close enough!”. I was reminded of lectures on “Flight Initiation Distance” in University.

Pikas are not quite yet on the endangered species list, though they have come up for consideration recently. The talus slopes they inhabit must be at sufficient elevation to remain cool as the Pikas cannot tolerate warmer temperatures. Trouble is the talus operates a bit like an island, and if the environment becomes undesirable, the Pika can’t easily migrate to another. Climate change has been diminishing the available habitat and this may be one species lost early if the climate change continues. How quickly this may occur is some matter of debate.

Cascade Range Peaks from Artist Point

10 exposures stitched, Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM @ 35mm

Click for larger version…
mountains to the north of artist ooint

  For the past few years I find myself wishing that I’d spent more time in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest photographing the peaks in the Cascade Range. The classic/cliche Picture Lake is awesome and can yield interesting photographic moments almost every time but the wide range of possibilities from up at Artist Point make it more appealing to me. The trouble is the road remains snow covered until sometime in July (this year it opened on the 30th of July – a bit late). As the road closes with the first major snowfall, this year in late October – this isn’t a lot of time to enjoy it. I live only an hour away just north of the border in Canada but always seem to get caught doing other things. At this time of year I know I will be waiting at least 7 months until I can get back to Artist Point. Editing images like this always give me ideas as to what I want to do next time I am there… but so long to wait!

This panorama is from Artist Point looking north into the Cascade Range peaks north west of Mt. Shuksan. The peaks are (from left to right): Mt. Herman (foreground), Tomyhoi Peak, Canadian Border Peak, American Border Peak, Mt. Larrabee, Winchester Mountain, Goat Mountain, Goat Mountain East Peak, and Mt. Sefrit.

If only the last light of the day lasted longer!