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Everything posted by Patty

  1. I'm so glad you started your report. This is really whetting my appetite. Please finish the report by Saturday
  2. Renting a car would probably be the easiest option. You could look at flying open jaw into Bozeman and out of Jackson or vice versa so you don't have to do the 6 hour drive (in clear weather) twice but may incur a drop off fee for returning the rental car at a different airport. It may also be possible to take one snowcoach transfer from Mammoth to Old Faithful, a different snowcoach from Old Faithful to Flagg Ranch and then a shuttle from Flagg Ranch to Jackson.
  3. The advantage of staying in Jackson Hole would be to see Grand Teton and the National Elk Refuge (not necessarily as a base for Yellowstone). I believe the main highway from Jackson to Flagg Ranch is open to vehicles year round. There's some stunning scenery and we had our closest wolf sighting in Grand Teton (one crossed the road right in front of our car just south of Moran Junction) though that was pure luck.
  4. The only road within Yellowstone open to vehicle traffic (either self drive or guided tour) in winter is the road that goes through the northern section of the park from Gardiner to Cooke City. To get to any areas of the park not along this road requires oversnow travel We booked snowcoach transfers to travel to and from Old Faithful A few sightseeing stops were made but it's mainly a form of transportation and took about 4 hours one way from Mammoth including stops. From Old Faithful we hiked some trails on our own though it's also possible to take a guided tour or ski/snowshoe. You can travel by car between the various gateway towns (i.e. Gardiner, West Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, etc) by driving outside of the park Each gateway town has authorized snowcoach and snowmobile operators For us it was more practical to base the majority of our time in Gardiner as we wanted to self drive. Gardiner is only 5 miles from Mammoth and we've stayed in 3 different places there (Yellowstone Suites B&B, Super 8 and Riverside Cottages) though none would really qualify as upscale. We went dog sledding with but they don't operate within the park (I'm not aware of any that do or if it's even allowed). My husband and I shared a sled and I opted to drive. It was great fun. I agree with @Swazicar that wolf viewing is very hit or miss and generally from a far distance. On our recent fall trip we missed them entirely as we managed to arrive at 3 different sightings just after they were out of sight.
  5. Our first trip to Yellowstone was actually in winter. We flew in and out of Bozeman, stayed in Gardiner for 4 nights and took a snowcoach from Mammoth to Old Faithful and back where we spent one night at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. We rented a 4WD in Bozeman and drove the one open road between Gardiner and Cooke City. We did some light hiking in snow boots but you can also snowshoe and cross country ski. We've since been back in spring and fall and have enjoyed all 3 seasons. We've never been in summer and wouldn't choose to visit then.
  6. I made a quick stop at the Monterey Bay Aquarium yesterday morning and saw lunge feeding humpbacks from the back deck.
  7. I wondered that too. Apparently desperate ones. In my area coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions are the primary land predators. We think it was probably a great horned owl which are prevalent and don't have much of a sense of smell.
  8. A coyote on our hike at Palo Corona this morning Not too concerned by our presence Remains of a skunk I also saw another bobcat! But I was too slow to get a photo. One of these days I hope to have some discernable proof of its existence
  9. Another one from Moss Landing this morning
  10. It certainly was! Even better than any of the boat trips I've been on. We watched for nearly 6 hours and they were still feeding when we left.
  11. I've posted these photos elsewhere before but one of my favorite days was watching about two dozen humpbacks lunge feeding just offshore of Point Lobos in late August two years ago. What photos fail to capture are the loud whooshing sounds. Joining the whales in their anchovy feeding frenzy were dolphins, sea lions and countless birds.
  12. Here's PG's monarch count from last season While you're here, you can try to catch the gray whale migration too. We typically see our first southbound grays right before Thanksgiving though it's more reliable later in the season I'll be glad to host the GTG at my house!
  13. The KWS Kinna Guesthouse and Kinna Cottages are well located in the park if looking for a lower budget alternative I believe @Atravelynn has stayed there. Offbeat was in Bisanadi if I recall correctly.
  14. I've only visited once in 2006 when we saw 5 white rhinos. The grass was very high that December and we stopped for a breakfast picnic.
  15. Aren't there areas with later salmon runs? I'm also thinking of an August/September time frame trip to Alaska next year but just started looking into it. I saw at least a dozen humpbacks from Carmel Beach this morning. Come to Monterey Bay for whales. In spring when gray whales pass along our shores on their northbound migration, orcas arrive to predate on calves. During that time, it's possible to see grays, orcas and humpbacks on the same day.
  16. I can't believe your luck. Great not pleased Bibi photo. Glad the Mara part won't be boring. That's when I usually start to nod off
  17. You can go on game drives from Ithumba but @beverly is right that the game is harder to find and you don't have that much extra time in between the 3 elephant visits. We've been lucky to see leopard and cheetah (the latter was spotted from camp). There's game viewing at the camp waterholes and we've seen bat eared foxes, genet and springhare at camp in the very early morning hours when it was still dark. I posted both trip reports here.
  18. @offshorebirder The Ventana Wildlife Society started another feeding station at Palo Corona a few years ago. This may be why we're seeing them in the area. Friends have seen them near Garrapata and two condors have visited a Point Lobos docent's home
  19. @Tom Kellie Sloths have green algae (and other organisms) growing on their fur so it was brownish gray tinged with green.
  20. This was on the grounds of our hotel in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica (wildlife is very habituated here). It was extremely slow on the ground but climbed very fast up the vine.
  21. Today I had my second ever sighting of a California condor above Point Lobos. Sightings this far north are rarer than sightings farther south in Big Sur. We had a really harsh winter and it's only been possible to drive 26 miles south of Carmel into Big Sur since February due to a collapsed bridge so I figured my chances of finding a condor around here were close to nil this year. This individual was flying among some turkey vultures and I suddenly realized one of these doesn't look like the others It was also being harassed by two possibly red-tailed hawks and the hawks succeeded in driving it out of sight. And yes I cursed loudly at those damn hawks! My first ever condor sighting was March of this year at Pinnacles National Park where four of them ending up roosting in a tree on the hillside across from our campsite. Spot the condor All sightings have been from a great distance with no possibility of reading their tag numbers but I'll take it! Here's a slide a friend took at a recent Ventana Wildlife Society talk. The central California population travels between Big Sur and Pinnacles and through GPS tracking they've discovered that some individuals have traveled south and back and may be having encounters with the southern California population.
  22. OK thanks, I think I can handle that. The majority of the crowding issues were at bear sightings last May. We're trying to time it for the fall color and at least the possibility of driving the Beartooth. Otherwise we would've pushed it back a bit later.

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