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Not Your Average Rodent! - now feat. Albinism!

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ryangeer View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ryangeer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Not Your Average Rodent! - now feat. Albinism!
    Posted: 11 May 2010 at 08:45
Went out this afternoon after a rainstorm to see if I could find something interesting to photograph when I came across the guy (or gal).

It's a yellow belly marmot -- also known as a "whistle pig" -- or, as we call them locally, a "rock chuck". And it would appear that it is also an albino...I'm no expert, but the very light fur and pink eyes sort of give it away!

I don't know how common (or rather, uncommon) an albino marmot is -- but I have seen (literally) thousands of 'rock chucks' in my thirty-some-odd years in this area and I've never seen (or heard of) an albino. I felt pretty lucky, especially to be able to get any decent photos of it, as they are quite skittish and don't normally hang around long enough to be bothered with.


a350 | Beercan | 210mm | f7.1 | 1/160s | ISO200


Another view


a350 | Beercan | 210mm | f4 | 1/400s | ISO200


For reference, here (s)he is with a friend of normal color


a350 | Beercan | 210mm | f7.1 | 1/160s | ISO200

Edited by ryangeer - 11 May 2010 at 08:51
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brettania View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote brettania Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2010 at 09:31
Great catch Ryan.

Where do you live? There might be something of interest in this scientific report, and it could be worth reporting your find to a university.
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revdocjim View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote revdocjim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2010 at 09:44
"How much rock could a rock chuck chuck if a rock chuck could chuck rock?"
Nice shots! The bokeh in 1 and 3 really add to the effectiveness of the whole composition.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ryangeer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2010 at 10:46
Thanks for the kind comments!

@revdocjim: lol! That phrase doesn't quite roll off the tongue when substituting "rock chuck" for "wood chuck"!! However, having grown up in an area replete with rock chucks, we do strongly prefer your version!   

@brettania: Thanks for the advice -- I will definitely contact the local community college...they may, or may not, be interested in the info. If not, I suppose they could point me in the right direction. I will probably also contact the local fish & game officials maybe...?

As for your first question, I live in southern Idaho, near the city of Twin Falls. These critters were photographed in the nearby Snake River canyon. The canyon is (more or less) the only attraction our little town has to offer. It is the place where Evel Knievel famously "attempted" to jump the canyon back in the mid-70s. Nowadays, the canyon (or more specifically, the bridge over the canyon) is somewhat famous as the only span in the US that can be legally BASE jumped year round.

Here's a couple of quick and dirty photos of the canyon/bridge. Really quite spectacular sights, but having grown up "in the shadow" of them, they seem very banal to me!   

Snake River Canyon



Perrine Bridge
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mgjsmith View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mgjsmith Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2010 at 11:44
Those rodent shots are really excellent, particularly the third. Regards, Martin
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nigelbrooks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2010 at 14:39
You lucky %%^&&!!

What beautiful scenery right in your backyard, it must give you some great photo opportunities.

Back on track, shot #3 is great, as has been said, but worth repeating, really good bokeh.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mezman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2010 at 22:22
Huh, I never knew that the Yellow Bellied Marmot lived at such low altitude. I never see them below 8500 feet in Colorado. And an albino at that! What a find!
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ryangeer View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ryangeer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2010 at 23:36
Once again, thanks all for the comments.

@Matt: They really aren't found anywhere but in (and around) the canyon(s) in this area. Probably because of the very high availability of 'cover' ie. rocks. My guess is that the coyotes that roam the high plains around here keep them from spreading.

Let me tell ya though - inside the canyon, there are TONS of them! There's a golf course about a mile up river from where I spotted this guy -- as I drove by one particular hole, there must have been 50+ 'chucks' knockin' about the fairway! There are so many that the golf course management offers a small 'bounty' for anyone bringing them carcasses!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote LECHER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2010 at 23:43
Anybody ever shoot a rock-in-one?

Great pictures. #2 is very sureal.

Jack
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ryangeer View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ryangeer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2010 at 23:51
Originally posted by LECHER LECHER wrote:

Anybody ever shoot a rock-in-one?

Great pictures. #2 is very sureal.

Jack


Haha! I'm sure it's happened!

I have seen (on more than one occasion) a rockchuck 'swipe' a ball from the fairway! Not sure if there's a rule in book that covers that one...penalty stroke and go to the drop zone?!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JamesD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 May 2010 at 00:05
I had an Uncle-in-law, I guess you could call him, who was a member there. Took us for dinner and a tour one evening. There was a beautiful "trout stream" running right through the course. I thought, now this is paradise! Golf, fishing, and beautiful scenery, all in the same place. I'd never have to come out. LOL Nice captures BTW.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mezman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 May 2010 at 21:09
Originally posted by ryangeer ryangeer wrote:


Haha! I'm sure it's happened!

I have seen (on more than one occasion) a rockchuck 'swipe' a ball from the fairway! Not sure if there's a rule in book that covers that one...penalty stroke and go to the drop zone?!


Haha, a buddy of mine once had his ball eaten by an elk while playing in Estes Park, CO. He tells me that he turned around and announced to the rest of his foursome that he wasn't taking a penalty stroke and just dropped a new ball where his other was eaten once the elks moved on.   
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