In the early spring, when the Sun has warmed and you can feel its strength, even if the air temperature stays cool, the lemmings emerge from their tunnels under the snow. Before the snow has a chance to glaze into a hard, shiny crust their tracks can often be seen as they go on excursions under the warmth of the Sun.
I often see their trails, meandering for great lengths and wish I could catch one out in the open. I figured that a lemming, slowly out for a walk on the snow would make an excellent photo. Even though they aren't leaving any trails on top of the glazed snow I finally saw one on top of it yesterday.
As the kids and I drove down to Victor Bay I saw one on the expanse of snow along the road. As I pointed it out and pulled to a stop (well pull is a bit of an exaggeration as I just stopped in the middle of the road) it slipped down onto the shoulder.
When I got out it took off, with a speed and an urgency that must come with being pretty much the bottom of the food chain and on the menu of most predators up here. And while it might have made an excellent photo it was one I still don't have. There was no slow walk on the snow as it made a beeline away from me, and I found it impossible to get one in focus shot of it, just a lot of blurry lemming butt photos that might have well been photos of Bigfoot.
As it took off again, off the snow and into the rocks I finally loosed Travis on it, as he'd been right behind me clambering to catch it. He made quick work of it as it hid under a rock and I ended up with the money shot. My son, who shares an Inuktitut name with this tiny speedster, holding it gently. After showing the others, and taking a bite for his efforts, he let it go. It once again raced across the snow to the rocks, leaving me with even more blurry, out of focus, lemming butt photos.