"A Sand County Almanac"

"THERE ARE SOME WHO CAN LIVE WITHOUT WILD THINGS AND SOME WHO CANNOT."
"FOR US IN THE MINORITY THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE GEESE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TELEVISION.".....Aldo Leopold



"LOOK DEEP INTO NATURE, AND THEN YOU WILL UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING BETTER".....Albert Einstein


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Yellowstone National Park - Week Two

Our second full week in Yellowstone began with a move from Mammoth Hot Springs to West Yellowstone, Montana.  Park rules limit the amount of time that one can stay in a campground, so it pays to have a plan.

We had a few disappointing days trying to find subjects to photograph, but in the end persistence paid off.  I have spent many hours trying to locate a long tailed weasel, also called ermine in winter.  This week I found one in a talus pile where he was probably hunting pika.  The weasel dashed across my field of view with barely a pause so I am satisfied with the two images I was able to capture…



Just driving from one destination to another in the early morning one might spot between 3 and 6 black bears.  They are so common we usually do not even stop unless they have cubs or are unusual in size or color…






There are numerous rivers in the park and occasionally bison can be seen swimming from one shore to another…




Meadows are plentiful and coyotes can sometimes be found hunting for rodents.  The next two photos were taken in Gibbons Meadow…





One evening, while driving along the Fire Hole River, we observed a stone fly hatch taking place.  It was the most intense hatch I have ever witnessed…



There is a small lake that we frequently pass during our travels.  This week it held eared grebes in their breeding plumage…



A cinnamon teal was found on the Madison River…



There is a “celebrity” grizzly bear called Raspberry who lives near Yellowstone Lake along the East Entrance Road.  We spent several fruitless mornings looking for her with only two long distance photos to show for our efforts…





This morning our luck improved when Raspberry, and her yearling cub, fed close to the road…





For some unknown reason when bears decide to cross a road they always choose the spot where I am standing.  I try to always maintain a safe distance from animals but it can be tough when they come directly towards you…



One other stroke of luck that befell us this morning was when we saw Wolf 755M in the Hayden Valley…



On an evening drive to Swan Lake Flats we encountered this bull elk grazing beneath a full moon…



My last image for this update is that of Grizzly 399 as she wanders into a remote area.  Who knows what goes through the mind of a mother grizzly that has just lost her cub…



Thanks for visiting, be well, and remember that a photograph not shared is a photograph wasted.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

When Two Black Bears Collide At Calcite Springs

Last Friday, June 17, Cheryl and I witnessed something that neither of us had ever seen before firsthand.  While watching a black bear sow with two cubs at Calcite Springs another sow, also with two cubs arrived in the same meadow...



We had no idea about what to expect.  Would the two bear families co-exist peacefully or would there be a territory conflict?  The first sow, that some have named "Rosie", was sleeping at the bottom of a tree that her cubs had climbed earlier...





The second sow kept looking in the direction of the first from a distance of about 150 yards.  Finally, the second sow decided to take a nap while her cubs climbed trees and played nearby...




Things were going well until one of the cubs of the second sow began moving in the general direction of the still sleeping first sow.  The second sow followed the cub which brought her within 60 yards of the first sow who was now awake and watching the second sow with great interest...




It was apparent that both of the sows were becoming more and more agitated with the close proximity of the other.  They began to slowly move towards one another with the pace getting quicker with each footstep...






A full scale pursuit began and it was nearly impossible to tell which sow was chasing and which was being chased...








After a few minutes of pursuit, the bear doing the chasing was able to catch up with the other bear and the fight began in earnest...




Unfortunately, most of the fight took place in a spot where our view was blocked by logs and stumps...






The bears eventually separated and each sought the tree where their respective cubs were waiting to rest and recover from the conflict...



After a while the second sow began to feed again right along the side of the road…




About this time the rangers decided to move a number of vehicles, including ours, to provide an opening for one of the sows to cross the road which is what happened.  We drove a mile or so down the road to turn around and head back to Mammoth.  When we passed Calcite Springs the first sow was still at the bottom of the tree with her cubs, and the second sow had crossed the road with hers and was heading away.  What an amazing event to be witnessed by park visitors and rangers!  I have to give credit for a job well done to the park employees who handled the traffic, controlled the over eager photographers, answered countless questions and kept everyone safe.

Thanks for visiting, be well, and remember that a photograph not shared is a photograph wasted.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Yellowstone National Park, Week One

Our first full week in Yellowstone has gone by quickly. One of the first things one notices when  visiting the park is the large number of bison...



Opportunities are plentiful to view the bison from a distance or up-close...



The  problem with the up-close option is that some people get too close for safety...



Bison are the most dangerous animals in the park. Each year injuring more people, who foolishly get too close, than any other...



This young bull was in the Hayden Valley early one morning...



We found another bull on the Blacktail Plateau Road as the sun was beginning to set...



One can never predict what might be around the next bend.  I caught this red fox bringing food to the kits near the Yellowstone Picnic area...



A bald eagle posed in a tree near the Blacktail Trail Head as admirers gathered in the parking lot below...







This cinnamon phase black bear was grazing not far from Mammoth...



A few miles farther on, near Blacktail Lakes, I spotted this wolf silhouetted against the morning sky...



There is a wolf den near the Slough Creek campground.  I would estimate the viewing distance to be 1.5 miles.  The next two photos were taken at 900mm equivalent and cropped in the computer.  The fist is of an adult standing at the den entrance...


The second image contains at least five pups playing beneath the trees on the left...



A young elk calf was in our campground...



An adult waited protectively nearby...



This cow and calf were on the lawn of the former Fort Yellowstone, located in Mammoth Hot Springs...



A group of elk frolic early one morning near Swan Lake Flats...



As one approaches Mammoth from Norris there is a man made cut through the mountain called the "Golden Gate".  It was here that we found a ravens nest containing five hungry chicks...






I don"t know how the mother kept track of which chick to be feed next...



She was resourceful, always checking the parking lot for food scraps or handouts...



This is the same area where we saw our first Clarks Nutcracker...



This is the nesting and birthing time of year, I saw this osprey preening beside a nest...





Floating Island Lake contains several coot families...





The reeds along the shore ring with the calls of yellow-headed blackbirds...





It has been a fun week.  I hope you are looking forward to next week as much as I am.


Thanks for visiting, be well and come back soon.


Visitor Counter