The Marmot’s Tail

 Friday (Freitag), 10 (zehn) June (Juni)

Sound of whistling – repeated 2-note phrases – as we passed over the marmot burrows. These two appeared to be keeping watch on some walkers 100 yards away.

Seen from above the marmot has a tail as thick as a German sausage – thicker in fact – with a black tip.

A stand-off – who will come out on top? –

A pair of Ravens or the mighty marmots – Europe’s largest member of the squirrel family?

No contest; one Raven pecks the tail of one of the marmots, which scampers off and stands right next to its bolt hole. The other marmot likewise stands beside a hole while the Ravens continue to strut along as the cocks of the walk.

Some of the marmot holes are enormous – perhaps where multiple tunnels have collapsed into each other.


Pipit, Alpiglen

The Wengen-Männlichen gondola was back in operation again yesterday after repairs to the supporting cable following a lightning strike so this morning we were on it at about 9, up in the high Alpine grasslands about ten minutes later and before 10 we’d made our way to a little knoll on the north end of the Männlichen ridge that gives views of all the places in the vicinity that we’ve visited – Interlaken, the Alpine Garden at Schynige Platte, Grindelwald, and the Lauterbrunnen Valley, although this morning cloud blotted out the Jungfrau.

Drogerie, Grindelwald station

After coffee at the restaurant we followed the Romantiweg – the Romantic Footpath – across the slopes down to Alpiglen, making slow progress as there were so many different species of wild flower to stop and try to identify.


On our return descent to Männlichen, in a cable car filled to capacity, we were able to position ourselves on the north side of the cabin so that we could see the area that the Chamois Trail footpath goes through on a steep upper slope where narrow meadows streak down between phalanxes of conifers. We were in luck; we saw our first Chamois. Well, actually I’d just decided that it was an odd-shaped sandy grey boulder lying by the path when Barbara spotted another 10 yards away from it, making its way along the path into the forest. We could make out the general shape through binoculars but not whether it had horns.

My close up of the Chamois (right) was of a stuffed specimen in a glass case in the lower cable car station. It was larger than I imagined; the size of a goat.

A day or two later we got a better view of a single Chamois, spotted by a sharp-eyed Australian as we waited for the cable car to descend. It was standing at the foot of the grassy gulley/clearing that runs below the cables. That one definitely had horns.

Mist over Männlichen

6.30 pm; These lower pinnacles of Männlichen were soon completely swathed in cloud when I started adding the watercolour to this little sketch made from our balcony. It’s now raining heavily (rather than torrentially) but it’s also brightened; there’s an overall yellowish hue to the meadows and chalets of Wengen, below the increasingly misty mountain above. The light is similar to the yellow band in a rainbow.