Groundhog Day in May

We finally got a full close-up of our long-time resident marmot

There is a groundhog that has been living on our property ever since we’ve lived here – perhaps even before us – and it was the first time in nearly 10 years that I was able to get a full glimpse (and even some video footage) of the fluffy marmot.

I didn’t even spot the furry mound sitting just in front of a makeshift, pop-up garage we’re using for outdoor storage; it was Dante who had the keen eye and pointed it out excitedly, “the groundhog is right there in front of the garage, dad.”

We were just pulling in around 5 p.m. during the run of rainy days we were having. Luckily, the sun was trying to break through a little and the rain had stopped – albeit it briefly.

It took me a few minutes to see the creature, as its colour melded slightly into the background and then I saw its eyes blink and head move a little.

While normally I try to avoid scaring or annoying the wildlife which frequents my property – there is a chipmunk couple and a family of robins who are very comfortable with our presence – I just had to get either a photo or video of the groundhog.

Seeing it scurry into the garage before we even started our approach further cemented my belief that it wanted me to see it a little more (yeah, I know I’m ridiculous).

We slowly approach the garage when we heard its high-pitched call that was a little bit off-putting at first and gave me pause.

Listen to our recording of sounds from the groundhog

It had found a hiding place under one of the skids I use to keep things off the ground – right under my lawnmower.

I tried using gentle tones – although Dante was adamant that wouldn’t soothe the creature, and teased me, “dad, you can’t talk to animals, stop trying to be Dr. Doolittle.”

I lifted the lawnmower to get a better look and sure enough the groundhog ran up and under another skid, this one with a heavier and not easy to lift bin on it. And unfortunately, it was too quick for me to get a photo or video of.

But, despite the groundhog’s best efforts, I would not be deterred from my goal of getting footage of this wonderfully elusive animal.

So, with some quality natural light shining through, plus the extra lighting on my phone’s camera, I slowly put my camera low to the ground and put the video on.

Not wanting to send the groundhog into hysterics, I got a few seconds of footage and then let it be.

See the little bit of video I managed to get

Some will say I should have just left it alone completely, and on most days I would as I have seen it’s rearend on several occasions going in and out of the ground, as well as into my garage.

But my inner explorer and animal lover got the best of me on this day and no animals were harmed. To be fair, my one older neighbour suggested on more than one occasion shooting the groundhog.

Each time I just laughed and said to myself, “that groundhog is lucky it lives on my yard.” And let’s face it, all the animals who live in the ground and the trees near and on my property are lucky to have a family who relishes their presence.

We’re the family who catches spiders in the house and gently puts them in the gardens. We purposefully plant specific species to attract butterflies. We let beetles crawl on our hands.

We let the frogs and toads jump around and even don’t mow the lawn if their babies are bouncing back to the ravine and stream next to us. We see the snakes who come through, the foxes, the deer, and everything else and feel so grateful to see healthy wildlife still around. Oh, and who could forget about our turtle friends!

With spring here and so many of our animal friends arising from hibernation, it’s a great time to catch a glimpse of very interesting species.

But maybe don’t be as bold as I was in getting some video of the groundhog. Though I saw him again the next day and he didn’t seem overly bothered at all.

Of course, this time I let him be as not to have Groundhog Day repeat itself.

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