"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


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Grand Teton N.P. - Grizzly # 399

The move to Colter Bay has put us much closer to the wildlife activity but has also created a new dilemma, which critters to seek?
On Saturday, May 18, Cheryl and I tried to find wolves on Pacific Creek Road while our daughter, Sarah, went in pursuit of Grizzly 399 and her cub...






399 is a legend in Grand Teton National Park.  She is 20 years old and has produced 16 descendants in her lifetime. She is followed by fans from around the world.  To see the fine condition that she is in makes her age even more remarkable...



  On Sunday morning she was feeding on Pilgrim Creek once more so Cheryl and I had an opportunity to see her interact with "Snowy" her current cub...


She is a very attentive and affectionate mother...








Because Snowy has no siblings 399 has to be both mother and playmate...





An energetic 3 month old cub can be a lot for a 20 year old mother to keep up with...



399 and her many offspring are so well known  because of their tendency to feed near roads.  She has developed a tolerance for her human admirers that could make her more vulnerable to hunters when Wyoming delists grizzly bears from the states protected species list, an action that is expected to take place this year...


For the thousands who come to see 399, and others like her, a living bear will always have more value than a trophy on some hunters wall, killed only to satisfy the ego of the individual human.

Thanks for visiting, be well, and stop back soon.




Thursday, May 19, 2016

Grand Teton National Park, 5-19-16, Wolves, Bears, Pine Martin

Tomorrow we will move to a campground at Colter Bay.  That will put us closer to the wildlife action that we enjoy but, from past experience, we know that Internet coverage will be spotty.  For that reason I am combining several days worth of sightings into this post.  Future blog updates will likely become more infrequent as our location changes.

Monday, May 16, was another overcast day with the clouds hanging low and rain predicted for much of the day.  We entered the park through the south entrance and, when we were between South Jenny Lake and String Lake, a group of elk ran across the road just ahead of us.  Pulling to the shoulder we searched the sage brush for the cause of their alarm.  The first wolf was easy to spot where he had abruptly ended his pursuit when we stopped…


Glassing the surrounding area resulted in the discovery of three more wolves.  It was a pleasant surprise to find wolves in this part of the park…


Our search for grizzly bears was nearly fruitless.  Our only success was to find Blondie napping beneath a pine tree…


The next morning she was much more cooperative, digging for roots and insects, and grazing on the fresh grass often within 50 yards of our car…





The close-up photos of Blondie were taken with a Tamron 150-600mm lens at full extension. That, combined with the 1.5x crop factor of the Nikon D7100, provided an effective magnification of 900mm…


Not far from where we saw Blondie napping was a sandhill crane…


Cattleman’s landing is located on the shore of the Snake River and that is where I captured the image of this pelican as it flew overhead.  These interesting birds migrate to the greater Yellowstone region from the Gulf of Mexico each summer…


As we were leaving Cattleman’s Landing I spotted a pine martin, only the second one I have ever seen…



After looking for prey in a cottonwood tree and on the ground, I was surprised to see that it had a large egg that it was apparently taking to its young somewhere nearby…


On a national forest road we found two whitetail deer…


Whitetails are spreading west and out-competing the native mule deer (next image) for dominance…


Mormon Row yielded some pronghorns near the road…


A greater sage grouse crossed the dirt road just ahead of us…


Near the bottom of Signal Mountain this black bear grazed happily near the road…




He was too close to lodging and dining facilities and a ranger soon appeared to “haze” him up the mountain.


Returning to the campground we passed within sight of the Gros Ventre Slide.  The snow on the slide lent itself to some fanciful interpretations.  Cheryl thought it looked like an alien face.  From my perspective it reminded me of the face of Mahatmas Gandhi...



  What do you see?

Since starting our road trip I am happy to say that views of the bog have increased almost daily.  Two new international viewers have found the blog, one from Laos and one from Angola bringing the international audience to 130 nations.

Thanks for visiting and sharing, be well, and come back soon.  Don't forget to bring a friend.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Grand Teton National Park, May 13

On Thursday, May 13, as we headed for the park entrance we saw our first bison calf in 2016…


Young bison are cute and playful.  It is a shame they not only have to survive their natural predators but stupid humans as well: http://www.9news.com/news/weird/baby-bison-that-was-put-in-car-euthanized/197039295

A friend told us that grizzly bear 610 and her cubs were visible from Pilgrim Creek Road.  Just as we arrived a large male grizzly unexpectedly showed up.  From his determined walk and posture it was clear that he was on the trail of something...



 Most observers thought he was likely trailing the female grizzly called Blondie, who had gone into hibernation with two cubs but emerged alone this spring.  A situation that caused her to be in estrus…

When his path took him near a telephone pole he did what bears often do, he stood up and left his scent on the pole as a signpost for other grizzlies…






Luckily, the boar moved on continuing his search before 610 and cubs arrived in the vicinity.  Male bears have been known to kill cubs, even their own, to cause the mother bear to go into heat and offer a mating opportunity for the male.

610 took note of the trail left by the boar and followed it straight to the telephone pole...


She stood up to determine the size of the boar...



  The cubs also investigated the telephone pole but it appeared they were not certain what the smell of the strange bear meant...





Fortunately, the boar was more interested in finding Blondie than causing trouble for 610 and her cubs, Allowing them to forage in peace...




  Later, we were looking for wolves on Uhl Road when we saw this dark morphed swainson’s hawk watching for a meal...


Every day is a new adventure with one never knowing what will be seen.  Thanks for visiting and sharing the adventure with us.  Be well and come back soon.

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