Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Animals We Encountered

One of the main reasons I went to Yellowstone/Grand Tetons was to view the wildlife. It's one of the finest relatively intact set of ecosystems in the lower 48 States. We were not disappointed. We witnessed more wildlife roaming free and essentially wild than I have seen since I cruised around the Okefenokee Swamp some years back. We experienced more large wild native mammals over our days in the Parks than at any other time in our lives. Here's a brief accounting of only some of the creatures we were able to photograph.

This was the only black bear we saw on the trip. It was high on Signal Mountain. Everyone thought it was a griz, but it was actually a brown-phase black bear. I think it was in the midst of shedding its summer coat and growing in its winter one. It never raised its head the whole time we were watching and was intent only on eating the berries growing all around it.

Click on this stitched panorama. It was taken of a set of bison herds in Hayden Valley. The bison are quite a lot of fun to watch. One must be careful, though, for they can be very temperamental. We went during the rut and a lot of the males were highly aggressive.

We saw several baby grouse as we were hiking out of the forest near one of the geyser basins. They were intent on feeding and seemed oblivious of the humans standing over them.

This was the parent of the grouse chicks. Unlike the young, she was very upset to see us arrive.

This was the first of the Grizzly bears that I saw. This one was in a field some distance away as I was getting ready to hike to the summit of Avalanche Peak in the eastern side of Yellowstone. This bear did not want anything to do with us and it vanished into a ravine before I could get any really good photographs. Good Grizzly bear!

I photographed this osprey with our old pocket camera as we were rafting down the Yellowstone River out of Gardner Montana.

I think Carole took this one. She got caught inside a herd of elk that was crossing the path to get across the road at Mammoth Springs.

This is the only bald eagle that we saw on the trip. It was flying around a high butte on which we were standing above Lake Yellowstone.

I could watch the bison all day. This one was rolling about in a wallow, kicking up the dust.

I took this one because the ravens in the Park are just so damned huge! This particular bird was walking around eating the bugs out of the grills of automobiles in the parking lot.

This bull elk had the best rack we saw on the trip. Still in velvet, he was very careful not to let his antlers touch the pine tree limbs as he walked beneath it.

These were bighorn sheep--ewes and kids on Mount Washburn.

I really wanted to see Pronghorn antelope. We didn't see one until we hit Lamar Valley, which was my favorite part of the park (which I'll explain in a later post).

This osprey family had its nest on a rock pinnacle in Tower Canyon. The mother had delivered a big fish just before I took this shot.

Carole wanted to see a moose more than any other animal. On our next-to-last day we finally saw three of them. Here are two of the three. They were really chowing down on the green stuff beside the Snake River.


Jack said...

Awesome! Brings back memories of our trip last year!

HemlockMan said...

How many griz did you guys see?

Jack said...

I only saw one Griz, but I didn't get a photo. Also, it could have been a Brown Phaase Black Bear.