This was my first glimpse of one of them. The spotted kitten is in front of his mother.
Very soon, his sibling caught up and is by his mother's hind legs in the photo.
These photos were in a dark forested area. Just a short time later, the family passed through a brightly lit area where my cam captured color photos of them. In this photo, mom is just leaving the frame and a kitten is behind her.
The kitten dawdled a little, probably sniffing the tree - which is a tree that is frequently marked by bears.
That was the last that I saw of the family. In fact, my trail cams captured no photos of mountain lions for a long time - a fact that left me very concerned about our wild cats.
Now, many months later, mountain lions have returned to our area. I seem to be capturing photos of them at least once per week. Phew!
In the interim, the study that was following lions wearing GPS collars ended. The researchers tried to capture all the lions in the study last winter to remove their collars. They did a pretty good job although there is at least one lion in our neck of the woods who is still wearing a collar.
One pair that I've gotten photos of has intrigued me because it could be a kitten and a mother from that family photographed last summer. They may have moved to another niche in our area for the past year.
The first set of photos was of a youngish looking lion. He came up a hill toward my trail cam.
Like most young lions I've seen in this spot, the scents of the animal marking post next to him caused him to freeze and sniff. Note the very black "mustache" spot above his mouth - that's one sign that he's young.
Another sign is that his body doesn't look proportioned normally yet. His legs look too short for the rest of him.
Nonetheless, he looks extremely strong and healthy. He's about the right age to be nearing the end of his time with his mother. He's also about the right age to be one of those tiny kittens who we saw more than a year ago in the first photos of this post.
Later that evening, a larger lion who had the proportions of an adult walked past the trail cam very fast.
I really wish that I'd captured photos of them together. I will be watching and hoping that I do!