This den is on a wooded slope in a cemetery which is a very busy place on week-ends and holidays. Car loads of people kept arriving and, in order to be discreet for the sake of these animals, I patiently waited for about two hours hoping that as the day waned, the crowds would thin out. Sure enough, around five pm I could hear car doors slamming and engines starting. At last I would have some "alone" time with the mum and her babies.
Well, one's patience is sorely tested when photographing wildlife! Just after the last car left and I positioned myself near the den, a raccoon wandered by on the upper edge of the slope (where one of the babies was exploring). By its manner I don't think it was stalking the young one but at the very least, it startled it and there was a big commotion resulting in one terrified little Woodchuck hurtling down the embankment (gravity was helping propel it and amazingly it never lost its footing) and all three dove deep into the den. As well, a stone was dislodged in the process and it made quite a racket as it tumbled down into the dried leaves. All this caused the mother to leap into action and climb up to confront the intruder - however it was long gone at that point.
Needless to say, my photo op was quickly over! Instead, I decided to come back the next day at an early morning hour which paid off with many of the following pictures. I am also happy to report that all three babies seemed no worse off for the skirmish of the previous day!
Two of the babies.
Watching the watcher.