Female Yellow-bellied Marmot and Her Five Pups

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Yesterday it was actually a clear morning for a change and after not being out in the field for six days because of clouds and rain I was raring to go find some birds to photograph. I needed to be outside, breathing the fresh, rain-scrubbed air with the birds, the sweeping views and any wildlife I could find.

And I did find birds, Red-tailed Hawks mating and nest building, a sassy Sage Thrasher, several Turkey Vultures, Long-billed Curlews, Western Meadowlarks, Swainson’s Hawks, Northern Harriers, Tree Swallows, American Robins, a lone Spotted Towhee, Rocks Wrens singing, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Horned Larks and Sandhill Cranes. I also saw flocks of ducks from a distance along with lots of Canada Geese.

I was able to take dozens of photos of the Red-tailed Hawks mating and of the male bringing in nesting materials and I will share those another day. I had a great time photographing the birds I found yesterday.

Cuddling Yellow-bellied Marmot pups

Cuddling Yellow-bellied Marmot pups – Nikon D500, f11, 1/640, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The most fun I had yesterday wasn’t photographing my feathered friends instead it was while I photographed a female Yellow-bellied Marmot and her five delightful pups. Those five pups were just so freaking cute and some of their antics had me laughing out loud while I took photo after photo of them.

Yes, I took a lot of images of these marmot pups, maybe too many by other people’s standards but I am not other people, I am me. My train of thought on the matter of taking lots of images of these marmot pups is that I might never have the opportunity with all five of the pups again so why not take as many photos as I wanted and make the most of the opportunity in front of me.

Anyway, the female Yellow-bellied Marmot wandered up a hill and left her pups playing , sunning and scrambling over the boulders and rocks at the burrow.

The marmot pups had me laughing out loud quite often, one was startled by a big fly and nearly fell over backwards which was comical. Some of the pups relaxed on the rocks while others nibbled on grasses and forbs, they nuzzled and nipped at each other too. The marmot pups were very entertaining and I actually hated to leave them to head home.

Life is good.


P.S., you can click on any of the top photos to open them full sized.


  1. Aisling Cronin April 16, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    What beautiful animals they are. I love the photograph where two of them look as though they are kissing!

  2. Ken Schneider April 12, 2018 at 7:17 am

    What a wonderful find! The sweet little creatures were so nicely captured. The enlarged images are tack sharp too..

  3. Pepe Forte April 11, 2018 at 11:50 am

    The Wizard of Ahhh’s strikes again. Great pics Mia. Thanks.

  4. Elephants Child April 10, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Heart-melting stuff. Even for hard-hearted Hannah here.

  5. Patty Chadwick April 10, 2018 at 10:06 am

    Loved this series!!! So nice that they can be seen playing on the warm rocks they like so much..not in a small, wire cage in some sicko pet shop…sadly, as animals this cute too often end up….If you love them, leave them!!!

  6. Laura Culley April 10, 2018 at 9:19 am

    Well now, my cuteness meter is pegged for the day 😉 What gorgeous little goobers!! Thank you for sharing these guys and I really look forward to the rest of the bounty from yesterday!

  7. Bob mcpherson April 10, 2018 at 6:51 am


  8. Liz Cormack April 10, 2018 at 6:45 am

    OMGosh…..cuteness overload. I wouldn’t have wanted to leave them either.

  9. Marty K April 10, 2018 at 6:31 am

    So cute! I can just picture their antics. Sounds like yesterday helped make up for the bad weather of the last couple of weeks.

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