August 11, 2016 Twin Lakes, Colorado

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks

The Blue Cup Returns to Action

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks

Being unable to locate any wildlife on the roads here in the mountains of Colorado, to get my wildlife fix, I was forced to dig out the old blue metal coffee cup and lure in what wildlife I could find here at the campsite.

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Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk

A little on the ” Blue Cup ” can be found in this older post, from my campsite in Pagosa Springs, where I first captured a couple of chipmunks trying to gain sole possession of a source of food.

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks

Here at the Lakeview Campground, I have Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels, at least three of them, in addition to about eight Least Chipmunks, and a flock of Juncos all competing peacefully for bounty contained in the cup and scattered around it on my picnic table.

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels and Least Chipmunks
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels and Least Chipmunks

Whereas the two chipmunks back at Pagosa Springs aggressively would drive the other away, here everyone seems willing to share the bounty. I have seen no aggression between species or individuals of the same species. Even the Juncos would hop right into the midst of feeding chipmunks to grab their fair share of seeds.

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk

I started shooting at mid day and experimented with a couple of different backgrounds ….

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks

… but wasn’t really pleased with the results.

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel

So, bright and early the next morning, I moved my setup to the other end of the picnic table and waited for the sun to poke it’s head over the mountain to the east, and found the perfect background … the shadows of the surrounding pines.

Least Chipmunks
Least Chipmunks
Least Chipmunks
Least Chipmunks

There are times when there are as many as five little chipmunks all gathered around the cup chowing down, or waiting to get a spot inside the cup where the real goldmine of seeds is located.

Least Chipmunks and Junco
Least Chipmunks and Junco

Two or three Juncos will quite often come in to share the feast. They appear to have no fear of hopping right in amongst the chipmunks or the much larger squirrels.

Junco and Least Chipmunks
Junco and Least Chipmunks

The wonderful lighting conditions only last for an hour or so until the sun gets high enough to start throwing some bright areas into the background, so I have to wait another day to get more shots with this dark background. I’m afraid you haven’t seen the last of these little guys .. they continue to just crack me up.

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14 thoughts on “August 11, 2016 Twin Lakes, Colorado”

  1. Great pictures. They are so cute. We just came back from Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Montrose and saw so many of these chipmunks and squirrels- especially sitting atop Gambel oak bushes looking like prairie dogs sitting on their haunches. Very funny to see.

    1. They are fascinating to observe, I agree. Yesterday I was at the old ghost town of St. Elmo and there they spread sunflower seeds all over the remains of a fallen down building right across the street from the the general store. There must have been 30-40 chipmunks and squirrels feeding in an area of 30 SF, along with a dozen small birds, never seen so many little rodents together in one small space.

  2. And thank you for showing me Golden Manteled Ground Squirrels. If I’d seen them I’d have said “Hey look at that big chipmunk!”?

    1. Well, I had to go online to find out who was who. The chipmunks back east where I come from look different, bigger at least, so I wasn’t sure what they all were.

    1. And now I can’t use that cup for anything else, since the fat little ground squirrels forced me to drill a hole in the base so I could screw the cup down to the picnic table. Where the tiny Least Chipmunks could sit on the cup’s lip and not move it, when the squirrels jump up and in, they tend to tip the cup over, so I had to make the modification.

  3. Love your descriptions of the set up. Honestly, if it’s not a wildlife “event” at a specific time of year+specific place or a national park, etc. sometimes it’s incredibly hard to find any wildlife to photograph. You did get some lovely scenic shots however!

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