Olympic Chipmunk (Tamias amoenus caurinus)
The Olympic Peninsula is known for a host of endemic creatures, including some mammals like the Roosevelt Elk. One creature that I almost overlooked as just another chipmunk is the Olympic Chipmunk, known to scientists and Latin enthusiasts as Tamias amoenus caurinus, a subspecies of the Yellow-pine Chipmunk Tamias amoenus.
In Olympic National Park the Olympic Chipmunk is “most common in the park’s subalpine zone where the forests blend into meadows. They are relatively abundant, and conspicuous, and more often heard than seen.”
Fortunately for me, Daisy, and Desi we found the little critters curious, confiding, and, of course, cute! They were common around picnic areas and bold when in search of snacks from picnickers. Like the Gray Jays, Black-tailed Deer, and Common Ravens they were more than willing to approach closely in search of a choice morsel. We resisted the urge to feed them and instead just enjoyed their presence and photographed them.
The Yellow-pine Chipmunk is one of four species of chipmunks found in the state of Washington and is the “most common and widespread” though the Olympic Chipmunk is limited to the higher elevations of the Olympic Peninsula. There should be no confusion between Olympic Chipmunks and the rest of the subspecies of Yellow-pine Chipmunk because, so far as I can tell, there is no range overlap.
Though they are small and easily ignored chipmunks are also entertaining with their antics. I’m glad that we got the chance to watch a few of them while we enjoyed Olympic National Park and I hope that some day we get to see them again! Here’s hoping that you like these shots as much as I enjoyed taking them.
And here, for comparison purposes, is a Yellow-pine Chipmunk that is not of the Olympic Chipmunk subspecies at Mount Rainier National Park. I am unsure as to what subspecies it is (and, yeah, I can’t see much difference either).
If you liked this post and want to see more great images of mammals and other creatures make sure to check out 10,000 Clicks, our big (and growing) page of galleries here at 10,000 Birds.