17 January 2012

What Lives on the The Alpine Slopes

These pictures were taken on the Grossglockner in Austria at 2383m high
Alpine Chough  (Genus Pyrrhocorax) Crow Family Bird
The adult of the nominate subspecies of the Alpine Chough has glossy black plumage, a short yellow bill, dark brown irises, and red legs. It is slightly smaller than Red-billed Chough, at 37–39 centimetres (14.6–15.3 in) length with a 12–14 cm (4.7–5.5 in) tail and a 75–85 cm (30–33 in) wingspan, but has a proportionally longer tail and shorter wings than its relative. It has a similar buoyant and easy flight. This is a high-altitude species normally breeding between 1,260–2,880 metres (4,130–9,450 ft) in Europe, 2,880–3,900 m (9,450–12,800 ft) in Morocco, and 3,500–5,000 m (11,500–16,000 ft) in the Himalayas. It has nested at 6,500 m (21,300 ft), higher than any other bird species, even surpassing the Red-billed Chough which has a diet less well adapted to the highest altitudes. It has been observed following mountaineers ascending Mount Everest at an altitude of 8,200 m (26,900 ft. It usually nests in cavities and fissures on inaccessible rock faces, although locally it will use holes between rocks in fields, and forages in open habitats such as alpine meadows and scree slopes to the tree line or lower,

Alpine Marmot (Marmota marmota) Squirrel Species
The Alpine Marmot (Marmota marmota) is a species of marmot found in mountainous areas of central and southern Europe. Alpine marmots live at heights between 800 and 3,200 metres in the Alps, Carpathians, Tatras, the Pyrenees and Northern Apennines in Italy. They were reintroduced with success in the Pyrenees in 1948, where the alpine marmot had disappeared at end of the Pleistocene epoch. They are excellent diggers, able to penetrate soil that even a pick axe would have difficulty with, and spend up to nine months per year in hibernation.
An adult alpine marmot may weigh between 4 and 8 kg, stand at 18 cm at the shoulder, and reach between 42–54 cm in length (not including the tail, which measures between 13–16 cm on average). This makes the alpine marmot the largest squirrel species. Its coat is a mixture of blonde, reddish and dark gray fur. While most of the alpine marmot's fingers have claws, its thumbs have nails.

Bubbling Fresh Water