Monday, 22 August 2011

More pikas!

So I've continued with the pika stalking on the rocks not far from the lodge. In the process I've managed to get myself looking like I've caught the measles. My neck is full of mosquito bites, but it's been worth the pain. I find the pikas really fascinating and I've started reading a book on them that I found here in the lodge. It had the potential to be a good book, but sadly it's really old and pretty longwinded (perhaps I should invest in a good one). Pikas seem to be quite common in Mongolia, but we never stumbled upon them there.

This is apparently a busy time of year for the pikas, when they're collecting up plants to make their hay for the winter. They certainly seem busy- dashing back and forth to their hay piles underneath rocks with grasses hanging out of their mouths. When they spot me they shriek and freeze before running onwards. There comes a point though when I can't watch them for any longer, because the longer I stay still the more bites I get!

Now that I can distinguish the call of the pika the mountains seem to be full of them, on the rocks near Scout Lake, on Red Mountain and at the end of Quinscoe lake (the lake the lodge sits on). There's also evidence of their activity on the trails, clusters of cut flowers and grasses just lying on the path (or maybe it's just reckless human activity).

Yesterday after hearing a pika shrieking I went to investigate and managed to get very close again and get some good pictures. They look so scared though when I get really close that it makes me feel somewhat guilty.

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