Before Wild Wonders of Europe mission, my only experience with marmots was from Tatra Mountains in Poland. I well remember a long hours of wait before that watchful animal stick its head out of a burrow. Bearing that in mind, I was prepared for the worst.
When I saw my first marmot in the Alps, I was stressed and excited. Armed with supertele lens I crawled slowly toward it, not to scare the shy rodent away. What was my surprise, when marmot instead of running under ground, jumped on my back! That’s how it started…
Certainly, big lens was not a right sort of gear for that kind of wildlife photography.
It was really incredible cooperation. I had to even show them if they looked all right on the pictures Pure professionals! After a while, I was really confused what’s easier – to take pictures of shy marmots from a decent distance or bunch of tame ones running among your legs. Anyway it was great fun!
Friendly marmots lived just near education center of national park. They show to be great ambassadors for all their kind. Playing with thousands of tourist each year, they affect their minds preserving a better future for the entire species.
Encounter with tame marmots was fantastic experience. However, looking at the snowy peaks and green meadows over a glacier, I could not resist a feeling of adventure, waiting for me up in the mountains. So, after two days, I decided to move on to cloudy slopes of Grosglockner massive in search of wild marmots and ibex.
High alpine meadows descending directly to the Pasterze Glacier proved to be a homeland for hundreds of marmot families. As they were decently shy, I could eagerly come back to my old ways of doing nature photography – from hide and concealment.
All these days spent among marmots taught me respect and admiration for these charming creatures. They were faithful spouses and caring parents, spending a huge amount of time building their lifetime relations. Common plays, greetings, scratching or joke-wrestling were their usual daily activities.
Just by the way, if you stay two-thirds of your life underground with no way to get out, you need to have good family relations
There was always someone to watch out for the others and warn them about a danger. But even then, marmots always stayed close to their burrows, ready to shelter there immediately.
PHOTOGRAPHY & TEXT: Grzegorz Leśniewski
FIELD ASSISTANCE / BACKSTAGE PHOTOS: Marek Kołodziejczyk
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.