What a Mouthful
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
Yesterday was my wife Lucy's birthday so I didn't get a chance to do any Critiquing so I'll have a bunch of catching up to do this evening when I get home from work. I very much appreciate all the kind words on yesterdays post. Lucy loves Richardson's Ground Squirrels so yesterday I shot a few images of them and this was her favorite. This female is gathering new dry grass for nesting material in the burrow. Doing some spring cleaning as she probably has babies growing inside her. Have a great day everyone.
Richardson's Ground Squirrel
By Gustave J. Yaki
These small, cuddly-looking mammals, commonly but mistakenly called "gophers" really provide a food-supply service for many other hungry creatures. By converting the prairie grasses and other green plants into baby ground squirrels, these in turn become recycled baby Swainson's and Red-tailed Hawks, Coyotes and Red Foxes, to name a few. Ground squirrels prefer short-grass areas. Perhaps the new grass tips are tastier and more nutritious, but eating them also permits them to better see any approaching predators. When they detect one, they stand upright and emit a high-frequency squeak, inaudible to human ears, but heard by other members on the colony
Besides supplying food for predatory species, they provide other important services. Because theY live underground, in digging their tunnels, they bring up subsoil which contains trace minerals. This, and their body waste, always enriches plant growth. Their tunnels also aerate the soil and allows moisture (rain and melted snow) to readily enter the water table. Their burrows also provide homes for species unable to dig their own. This includes the very endangered Burrowing Owl, wintering snakes, other reptiles, amphibians and insects.
Ground squirrels, which are active by day, are true hibernators; they are also aestivators -- mammals that sleep throughout the heat of summer. Adult males first come out of their underground burrows in late February. They stay up during spring but go back to sleep in July, remaining there until the following February. (Do you suppose they get bed-sores?). They only spend about one-sixth of their year above ground. Adult females, which come up in March, retire by early August. Young females go underground a month later. Juvenile males retire from late October, into November or even early December, if winter comes late, trying to gain extra weight, needed in competing with adult males for breeding rights next spring. While in hibernation, ground squirrels awaken about once every two weeks.
Mating takes place in March, soon after the females emerge. After a gestation period of only 22 days, she gives birth to litter of 3 to ll young. The helpless newborns grow quickly and appear above ground for the first time when three weeks of age, near the beginning of May. A week later they are fully weaned, dieting on green vegetation, seeds, insects, and carrion -- often their own road-killed brethern.
They are one of 17 ground squirrels species in North America. Others occur in northern Eurasia. The Richardson's Ground Squirrel ranges throughout the grassland and Aspen Parkland regions of the three Canadian provinces, extending southward as far as northern Colorado.
oanaotilia, Argus, nasokoun, jaycee, nglen, zulfu, xTauruSx, Juyona, CeltickRanger, Alex99 has marked this note useful
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- [2009-03-30 5:03]
Wonderful capture. Well done.
O, funny this ground squirrel. In fact, it is a careful with her new offspring: they should have a very comfortable and warm bad. I don't know this species, but it seems that the colors are very natural, camuflated in the environment. Well done!
Kind regards, Oana
- [2009-03-30 8:02]
A fine capture of a Richardson's Ground Squirrel gathering nesting material on a fine spring day of Lucy's birthday. The lighting, POV and sharpness are superb to make this a first class image and a fine tribute to your wife. I hope you had a good day.
Thanks for sharing this with us,
very beautiful and funy moment,
the 'monochrome' shows his natural environment and his very good camouflage,very good result
- [2009-03-30 9:06]
Happy Birthday Lucy!!!! An adorable Ground Squirrel to help her celebrate. She certainly does have a mouthful - I love the way she hold onto it with those tiny hands. Beautiful colors - so subtle and natural. Nice sharp details and a marvelous nature shot.
Very nice photo of this Ground Squirrel. Great sharpness and a wonderful POV. I made a workshop, because I think the clarity can be something reduced and the contrast a bit added.
Hope you don't mind.
- [2009-03-30 12:23]
Hi Rick. Say happy birthday to Lucy for yesterday. I can why she like this picture of the cute looking Ground Squirrels . You have captured this one in such a good pose with the grass in its mouth. Good detail and natural colours. well done TFS.
- [2009-03-30 13:05]
A fine shot of this lovely ground squirel with great details and composition.
TFS and G's,
Hello Rick, excellent shot of this cute fellow. Wonderful composition.
TFS and greetings, Deniz
- [2009-03-30 13:39]
interesante pov y foco,
beautiful photo of this wonderful squrriel, excellent timing
to shoot it on photo, with fine POV, DOF and framing,
excellent sharpness and details, TFS
Happy Birthday to Lucy
- [2009-04-19 21:18]
You have pictured this charming animal at so attractive moment and pose. Details of the scene are great as well as composition of the image and framing of the scene.
My kind regards and all the best.