Friday, June 7, 2013

Yellowstone - Day 4

It was a balmy 46 degrees at 6:30AM when we left the cabin the next morning.  That warmer than usual temperature had the animals out and about already.  We saw a moose at Warm Creek and then saw three more just past Pebble Creek.

Moose at Warm Creek

Multiple Moose (There's three)

We saw a couple coyotes in the Lamar Valley and used our rental scope to check out a Grizzly far away.  

Foraging Coyote

We then headed over Mt Washburn to Yellowstone Lake hoping to see some of the Grizzlies that had been making an appearance around Mary Bay.  But we had no luck with any wildlife at all except for a lone coyote.  

Yellowstone Lake

Next we decided to take the hike to Cascade Lake.  Less than a mile into the hike we turned around.  The temperature had dropped into the 30’s, the wind had picked up and it started to sleet.  Any 2 of those 3 wouldn’t have bothered us but having all 3 made for a cold walk and we decided the warmth of the car was a better option.

We headed back over the mountain towards Tower.  We struck out with Pika and anything else at Hellroaring but did briefly see our fifth moose of the day at Floating Island Lake and we had a lone coyote at the Wrecker pullout.  Back in the Lamar Valley, we got out to scope the area where we thought there was a coyote den.  Turns out we were scoping in the wrong direction after talking to a few folks at the pullout.  When we did locate the den we were able to see all 5 pups out and frolicking around.  There was one adult around and they were all playing.  It was great fun to watch and our first coyote pups ever which made it even better.

After about a ½ hour of watching the pups we headed down to the Hitching Post pullout after hearing that two wolves were out in the area.  The parking lot was just about full but we snuck in at the end and walked back to set up our scope.  Turns out that the wolves had a Mule Deer kill in the willows by the river and folks had been waiting for one or both of them to make an appearance.  Sounds like a good reason to hang around for a while…so we did.  Less than an hour later, a black wolf came trotting out of the willows with a leg bone in its mouth.  It trotted through the meadow, crossed the road a few hundred yards away, and headed up the hill towards the den site.  Unfortunately, it was too far for decent pictures but we got great looks at the wolf through the scope. 

A car jam at Round Prairie yielded a lone moose out in the river but it was really far away so we pressed on.  Later we found out that this moose had a baby so we were initially disappointed that we didn’t stay, but we ended up seeing the same moose with baby later in the week.

Next it was back to Silver Gate for a normal dinner time, but on the way we wanted to play scope-a-goat at Mt Barronette.  Within 10 minutes we had found 5 goats on the mountain including 1 with a newborn.  We sure got our money’s worth out of the scope that day!

After another quick dinner of soup and bread, we headed back out.  At the NE entrance booth we asked the Ranger (who will forever be known as “Hot Ranger” for obvious reasons) if she knew where the Great Gray Owl was that had been seen around the area. She didn’t know where the owl was hanging out, but the stop and conversation was soooo worth it.  Anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah… We headed back into the park to see what would be out after dinner.  We had a scoped bear at Specimen Ridge, lots and lots of Bison pouring into the Lamar Valley, and our one and only beaver sighting of the whole trip at the Confluence.  Nothing too exciting, but it still beats working and the light was great.

Evening reflection

Sunset in Lamar Valley

What a great first day!

Daily Highlights:
  • 9 coyotes (5 pups) 
  • 6 moose
  • 5 Mt Goats (1 baby)
  • 1 Wolf
  • 1 Grizzly
  • 1 Black Bear
  • 1 Beaver

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