Saturday, May 24, 2008

Yellowstone - May 24, 2008

Saturday brought overcase skies and on and off rain for most of the day. So, we spent almost the entire day cruising the park.

This day proved once again why we love staying in Silvergate. After entering the park we immediately saw a moose in the warm springs area but it wasn't a good photo op. Then, just before the Barronette pullout at about 6AM we were lucky enough to spend about 5 minutes with the best looking fox I had ever seen (even in pictures). Unfortunately, the low light coupled with my budding photography skills don't do this fox justice. It was beautiful!
One good looking Red Fox

Then, a little ways up the road, we ran into another moose. He was off to the side of the road behind some trees, when we slowed down he proceeded to walk down a few yards and then cross the street. I think we might have unintentionally startled him a bit so we just sat in the car waiting to see what he would do. He proceeded to get on the road, turn his head to look at us, lift a back leg, and take a leak. And, I think he did this to send us a message. It was really quite funny.
This is what I think of you

We proceeded to stop at the Barronette pullout and scope some Mt. Goats. We have gotten pretty good at spotting them even with the snow on the cliffs.

So, in review, we haven't even hit the Pebble Creek area and we already have sighted 2 moose, 1 fox and a few Mt. Goats all before 6:30AM. Now that sure beats working!!

On to the confluence where we stopped to see if the beaver were out and they sure were. It was breakfast time:
Mmmm twigs

Next we encountered a forming jam just before the speciman ridge area. Turns out a lone black wolf was in the meadow. I couldn't get a shot clear enough to see the eyes, but it was our closest wolf encounter to date which was really exciting.
Black Wolf

I wrote in my notes for this day that we saw pronghorn all over the place and I have to admit that of our 3 YNP trips, this one provided a whole lot more pronghorn sightings. I hope their numbers are increasing.

Later on we stopped at Tower to see if Rosie was out but she wasn't. So we scanned the opposite cliffs for bighorn and saw these two:
Bighorn Sheep

Not very impressive until you see the big picture as to where they were:
Where's Waldo?

These bighorn sure can climb (and no sherpas needed)

We drove up to Mammoth and then stopped in at Swan Lake to find a lone dark wolf across the lake. While it wasn't close enough for pictures we could see him really well in the scope and he was howling. I love the ability to see the wolf howl and then hear it a second or two later...such an awesome experience.

The day ended with a trip to Sheepeaters to check in on the Marmots. We ended up seeing a Marmot and a Pika (too elusive for photos) and this very cooperative chipmonk:

The day ended early due to bad weather so we actually had real food for dinner at the restaurant in Silvergate (which was tasty by the way) instead of the campbell's soup we had been having too often for dinner on this trip.

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