Saturday, June 1, 2013

Yellowstone - Day 9

The next morning we were out by 6:30AM to meet our guide to go looking for owls.  He knew exactly where to go and it wasn’t long before we saw our first Great Gray Owl.  In fact, this Great Gray was a female tending to at least one chick on a nest.

Great Gray Owl on Nest

We waiting for a couple hours hoping that the male would show up for that iconic full body Great Gray photo but that didn’t happen. Still, it was very cool to see the Great Gray on the nest.

We still had a couple hours before we had to head to the airport so we went back to the fox den to see if any of the kits were out.  When we arrived, we learned from a neighbor that had just fed them.  So our chances of seeing them were lessened.  But we waited and did eventually see two of the kits.  One was a bit more daring than the other and investigated a bit before retreating into the den.  We hung around as long as we could but were forced to leave before the kits came out again.

Exploring Fox Kit

Fox Kit Staring

Fox Kit #2

Our drive through the park was uneventful except for the beautiful shades of green and yellow.  We did pass 3 separate jams but couldn’t see anything from the car and had no time to stop so we just drove on.  

Lamar Valley

After leaving the park, we grabbed some Subway sandwiches and headed out Old Yellowstone Rd.  We’ve had good luck along that road in the past and it is our traditional way to leave the park.

We did see a few pronghorn (several of which look very pregnant) and some Elk but that was about it.

With that, our fantastic trip was over.   Our decision to go in June paid off because we saw lots of babies which was our goal.  The added benefit of everything being greener and the wildflowers starting to bloom was a big bonus.  Plus, who knew having gas available at Roosevelt would be such a convenience.  Yes, it was more crowded but on only a couple occasions were the crowds horrible enough to change our plans.  We did see more “tourons” than normal and the last weekend we were there was really bad as the buses started to show up.

Mammals Spotted on the Trip:
  • White-tailed Deer
  • Muskrat
  • Yellow-pine Chipmunk
  • Columbian Ground Squirrel
  • Mountain Cottontail
  • Rocky Mountain Elk
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Black Bear
  • Grizzly Bear
  • Pronghorn
  • American Bison
  • Black-tailed Deer
  • Mountain Goat
  • Coyote
  • Gray Wolf
  • Beaver
  • Uinta Ground Squirrel
  • Red Squirrel
  • Yellow-bellied Marmot
  • Red Fox
  • North American River Otter
  • North American Pika
  • Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
New Bird Species:
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • Eastern Kingbird
  • Gray Catbird
  • Cliff Swallow
  • Red Crossbill
  • Colliope Hummingbird
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • White-winged Crossbill
Reptiles and Amphibians:
  • Zippo (Still waiting for our first Yellowstone snake)

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