A Box Elder County Yellow-bellied Marmot

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Box Elder County Yellow-bellied MarmotBox Elder County Yellow-bellied Marmot – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 320, +1.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Yesterday started off with gray clouds then the skies cleared for the most part during mid morning and then later became gray again before the sun set. I visited Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and then headed north towards the road to Promontory Point in Box Elder County.

At Bear River MBR there were more birds than a week earlier but not many that were close enough to photograph when the light was good. I saw between 12 to 15 Long-billed Curlews and that got my blood pumping! I didn’t see Tundra Swans but I heard them way off in the distance, they will soon be on the wing to their breeding grounds.

I saw several Golden Eagles and missed an opportunity to photograph one of them on a road killed rabbit and when it took flight the light was awful. The Rough-legged Hawks that were there a week before were missing and have probably migrated north to breed. I saw Red-tailed Hawks, Prairie Falcons, Bald Eagles and Northern Harriers but haven’t seen my first of the year Swainson’s Hawk yet.

Yesterday I wrote that I hadn’t seen my first of the year kingbird and I am happy to say I saw one yesterday, a Western Kingbird on a wire.

I also saw two Yellow-bellied Marmots, one I couldn’t get images of because it crossed a gravel road and then hid in boulders next to the road. I was able to take images of a Box Elder County Yellow-bellied Marmot further south next to the road near the foothills of the Promontory Mountains. The light could have been better but it was after noon by the time I photographed it. Still, I couldn’t resist photographing the marmot on the lichen-covered rocky outcropping.

In the interest of full disclosure I did clone out some very out of focus grass stems that were at the bottom right side of the frame. I don’t often use the cloning brush in Photoshop for anything more than dust spot removal but I felt those grass stems need to go.

It felt good to get out knowing the forecast for the next three days is dreary due to a slow moving weather front. Spring time in Utah.

Life is good.




  1. Humming bird lover March 29, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Hi! finally Spring is really here and out there, too. Hope you can get a lot of shooting in soon! Your image reminds me of a groundhog in W.Va and I think some are here in Va,too/ Love the way it is on the rocks Great work! love mom

  2. Deborah March 28, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    So cute! I didn’t know it’s a Marmot. I think I saw one at Joshua Tree once… had no idea exactly what it was.
    In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a bit of touch up using the clone brush. Sometimes just that one small annoying blade of grass can ruin an otherwise wonderful frame… So yes, it has to go!
    What really gets me is compositing. Especially when the compositor tries to say it’s not a composite. I guess a lot of people really can’t tell it’s a fake photo?

    • Deborah March 28, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      I saw the critter I mentioned at Joshua Tree in another set of your photos. NOT a Marmot, but a chipmunk. Which was my original thought anyway.
      I also saw a photo of a Mama Moose with her baby. That was intriguing! So jealous. I was in ND one year and wanted to see and photograph one…. Everyone kept saying they were all over the place… in their backyards. I went out every day for two weeks trying to see one. I did however, see my first ever Antelope there. At the time, I didn’t even know what it was. That was pretty cool too, even if I never did find any Moose. I did manage a couple of bad photos of the Antelope family.

  3. Elephant's Child March 28, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    What a charmer.

  4. Patty Chadwick March 28, 2016 at 6:57 am

    I especially like the compsition of this shot…also the “perch”…marmots and rocks, such a typical combination. They must like the unobstructed view and the heat from the warm rocks…you see them on rocks so often…

  5. Bob McPherson March 28, 2016 at 6:41 am

    Beautiful image, Mia. Spring is springing everywhere. Saw our first Hummingbird this week.

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