Yellow-bellied Marmot, Yellowstone National Park

Photo of a yellow-bellied marmot.

On the Lookout at Sedge Bay

One of the things I’ve noticed about myself at Yellowstone is that I no longer just focus on the species that are most sought after by photographers and other visitors.  I’m thinking, of course, of things like bears and wolves.  Oh, sure, they’re still at the top of my list, but I’m interested in all the animals now, including the rodents.

I photographed this marmot across the road from Sedge Bay. The rock outcroppings there hold a good population of marmots.  I learned a lesson that day.  Make that two lessons.  I had stopped to shoot marmots and just grabbed my 500 lens and tripod.  I left the 100-400 on another camera body in the truck.   After shooting for a while this marmot turned its back to me, stood up and gave a warning call.  Others chimed in.  I didn’t have a clear line of sight to what they were upset about, but decided I had gotten what I wanted and hoisted the camera/tripod onto my shoulder and turned around to head back to my truck. It was then that I saw a black wolf walking midway between me and my truck which was parked about 40 to 50 feet away.  It disappeared into some trees.  Two mistakes.  I should have looked in all directions when the marmots started calling and I should have brought the 100-400 with me.  As I got to the truck I saw a white wolf heading into the trees going in the opposite direction of the black wolf.  It had been the one behind the marmots.  I followed it in the truck, but lost it.  Next time I’ll be prepared.  Yeah, right.  I’ve said that before.


About Jim Coda

I am a nature photographer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I specialize in photos of birds, mammals, and landscapes.
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6 Responses to Yellow-bellied Marmot, Yellowstone National Park

  1. Pat Ulrich says:

    This is very cool — I think marmots are fascinating, and they are definitely on my wish list for Yellowstone. I’ve photographed Olympic marmots in Olympic National Park, but not the yellow-bellied. Great story about the wolves too, too bad that you didn’t get any shots off, but how cool to see them (even if briefly) at that range!

    • Jim Coda says:

      Thanks Pat. Look for marmots where I photographed them. Wolves can turn up anywhere. Best chance to see them is the Lamar Valley, but it’s frustrating because they stay far from the road.

  2. John says:

    It’s still good to always be living and learning (especially the living part)!

  3. Alan says:

    We love these little guys and I do believe we have seen them at this same outcropping before. Of course, we didn’t see wolves there. Yes, you always need to look around to see what your missing but that’s often easier said than done when you’re caught up in a moment.

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