Friday, May 23, 2008

Yellowstone - May 23, 2008

Well, this was our first full day in Yellowstone so we set the alarm for 5AM to be sure we were out relatively early. We always get up early and stay out late on vacation because we figure we can sleep when we get home.

Coming in from Silvergate we didn't see any special wildlife until just after Slough creek. Here we ran into 4 coyotes, 2 of which seemed like juveniles. Signs are all over the place about reporting any aggressive coyote behavior but these 4 were just fine. Here is one of the adults:


We made a quick stop at the Yellowstone bridge to see that the black bear was still finding something to eat on that old bison carcass. I guess he wasn't too picky. We headed up to Floating Island to check on the cranes. Still no hatchling (does anyone know if the eggs have hatched yet?), but we did see and hear an interesting display as a swan landed on the lake which caused both cranes (No, not Frasier and Niles) to go berserk. I guess they were worried that the Swan was a threat. In any case, they made quite a racket. But, I love listening to the cranes so it was a cool experience. Maybe one of these days I will buy a recorder to capture the sounds of Yellowstone since they can be as awesome as the sights.

On to Tower for, hopefully, a Rosie sighting, but we only saw other black bears and not her. The sun was out so we decided to get some exercise since we pretty much sat on our butts the day before. So, we drove down to Hellroaring. Maureen must have seen our Y-Net magnet because they followed us in and introduced themselves. After some quick conversation we proceeded to walk to the bridge and back. Besides a bunch of wildflowers, mule deer, and birds, the Ground Squirrels were out in force. Including this one that seemed to be collecting materials for a nest:
I would say hello, but my mouth is full

After the hike we contined on to Mammoth for a naughty lunch (Can one become addicted to the Western Chicken sandwiches...?). Then we headed to Sheepeaters to look for Marmots and Pikas. Not only did we see this overly friendly Marmot but we also ran into Jim and Cathy and had a good long conversation about everything Yellowstone.
Yellow Bellied Marmot

We went back to tower and encountered our first Rosie jam. Many other Y-Netters were there as well but she and the cubs were up the hill a ways and hidden by trees for the most part so I only got partial cub shots.

As we were leaving, Karen spotted a bighorn across the canyon and after further inspection we saw it had a baby. It was a long way off, but it was our first bighorn baby sighting. We ran into Bart and Monique as we were taking pictures so we introduced ourselves and chatted before parting ways.

We drove on to Slough Creek where we were able to scope some wolves and meet Gary (Garwar). We talked to someone who mentioned they saw a Badger. We ended up telling Bill and Peggy about the location and joined them for some cross county exploring in search of the elusive Badger. We saw no signs, but I do think we brought back two ticks from this cross country trek. :( Since I refused to go away without any pictures, I took this one of geese on the little pond up there.
Don't call me Canadian!

We returned twice more to that sight (between the YS bridge and Roosevelt) during our trip and saw no signs of badger.

We stopped in Little America to enjoy some bison activity and "Norman" watching. At one point, a herd got spooked and started sprinting towards the road. They can move pretty fast and I don't think this picture does the moment justice. All the motorists were smart enought to stay way back from sprinting bison.
Run for your lives...

Also, in Little America we saw some pronghorn sparring which was fun to watch but they grew tired quickly.

The day ended with spotting some beavers at the confluence and some Mountain Goat spotting on Mt Barronette. So, all in all another great day in parkidise!

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