Posts Tagged ‘urocitellus columbianus’

Manning Provincial Park Wildlife

A Columbian Ground Squirrel (Urocitellus columbianus) watching from a burrow at Lightning Lakes in Manning Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada.

columbian ground squirrel watching from a burrow in manning provincial park

A Columbian Ground Squirrel (Urocitellus columbianus)
in Manning Provincial Park

-click to enlarge-

   I always tend to stop at the day use area of Lightning Lake in Manning Provincial Park when driving to the Okanagan. Not only is it just off the Crowsnest Highway (map) it provides a nice view of the lake and is a good place to pause for a pit stop. The field and lake by the parking lot boat launch are home to many species including the Columbian Ground Squirrel (Urocitellus columbianus), Grey Jay (Perisoreus canadensis), Barrow’s Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica), Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and the occasional Common Loon (Gavia immer). I am sure there are a number of other species around, but these are the ones I’ve seen myself. So far.

a pair of barrows goldeneye swimming in lightning lake in manning provincial park

Barrow’s Goldeneye Pair
(Bucephala islandica)

-click to enlarge-

   In a post last year I shared a few of my photographs of the Columbian Ground Squirrels. Though all the ice was off the lake last week and the grass in the field was greening up quite well, their behaviour was no different this time around. I had thought that with more plentiful natural food sources they would be a bit less audacious in their approach to my backpack and other equipment, but they were just as bold. I put my backpack down and it wasn’t too many minutes before two of them had clambered up onto it. I was thinking of photographing this but chewing had started, and I chose the bag over a photo opportunity.

   Near the shore of Lightning Lake there were a pair of Barrow’s Goldeneye swimming and diving for food. Not nearly as tame as the Ground Squirrels, I had to sit and wait for them to swim back past me in order to make this photograph. This also makes photographs of them more satisfying than those of the “tame” Ground Squirrels. The female Goldeneye kept diving while the male watched me so it was a bit tough to get a good photo of the both of them on the surface at the same time. They were certainly more interesting than the ubiquitous Mallard ducks I see around Vancouver.

a common loon swimming in lightning lake in manning provincial park

Common Loon (Gavia immer)

-click to enlarge-

   Many years ago I camped with my parents at the Lightning Lakes Campground and heard the Loons on the lake but never saw one. This Common Loon was swimming past the shore just beyond the Goldeneyes and was the first one I’d ever seen. Much more wary of me than the Goldeneye pair, however, and chose to return to the other end of the lake via the opposite shore.

Columbian Ground Squirrels (U. columbianus)

a columbian ground squirrel - urocitellus columbianus - posing for a portrait by its burrow at manning provincial park in british columbia, canada

Columbian Ground Squirrel
(Urocitellus columbianus)

-click to enlarge-

   A Columbian Ground Squirrel (Urocitellus columbianus) posing for a portrait at Lightning Lakes in Manning Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada.

    I had initially figured these to be fairly wild, but unfortunately they seemed pretty unafraid of me. This was near a campground so it seems that some people have been misbehaving and feeding the wildlife. Not surprising, but disappointing. I didn’t really realize how “tame” they were until I was crouched down photographing something else and one jumped into my open camera bag likely to try to raid it for snacks. They came up empty but I suppose it pays to be bold, especially when you are literally about 1 foot away from the safety of your burrow!

   I had considered posting the photo below with only frame 2 or 4 showing the ground squirrel on its back… but that could be misconstrued as a dead squirrel. This guy scratched his back like this many times, and while I had the presence of mind to photograph it, I again forgot about the video capabilities of my Canon 7D. Ooops!

a columbian ground squirrel - urocitellus columbianus - scratching its back at manning provincial park in british columbia, canada

Columbian Ground Squirrel (Urocitellus columbianus)
doing a rolling backscratch

-click to enlarge-

 
This image sequence does show what he was doing though – and he’d kick his back legs like I’ve seen dogs do while scratching their backs in the same manner. It is a technique that must work!

a columbian ground squirrel - urocitellus columbianus - posing for a portrait by its burrow at manning provincial park in british columbia, canada

Columbian Ground Squirrel
(Urocitellus columbianus)

-click to enlarge-

   The fervent back scratching was soon followed by the collection of some mouthfuls of grass presumably for nesting materials. I’d woken up to the video potential at that point, and managed to record this video. I really would like to get better at recording video but usually these things come up so quickly I’m not fully prepared – and have to shoot handheld. A frequent issue is that if I am using my Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS with the image stabilization turned on, the sound it makes to steady the image is evident in the audio track (as is the case here). Also, if there is any breeze at all it sounds like I am blowing directly on the mic at all times. I guess this is why there is a jack for an external microphone on the 7D. Someday I may pick up one of these, but I’ll have to practice making video for a while before that is something I consider. As I shoot still photography exclusively in RAW format, I’m used to being able to tweak whatever I like after the fact. I find the video straight from the 7D to show somewhat flat colour and lack a bit of contrast. This would be easily remedied in a basic video editor I presume, but I’ve not had much luck with Quicktime Pro which about the only software I own for such purposes. The color edits don’t seem to stick with the exported movies.

   Do you record video with your DLSR? What do you use to edit the results?