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I was just reading @@Atdahl's trip blog about driving through Yellowstone and wondered who has gone and how it's been arranged? Self-driving? Through a safari company? Hubs has a week off in July and this is doable if we can find accommodation. Help!
We had to scrap our plans to visit Africa for wildlife this year, but instead we went to Yellowstone and Tetons for wildlife. Here is a long report of our sightings. My father and I recently spent spent 6 nights in Yellowstone and 2 nights in Tetons ( June 15-22). Here is the wildlife we saw.I just want to let you guys know, we are not really scopers, which is why we really didn't spend much time looking for grizzlies or wolves, just because they are always distant. 31 bears, 24 black 7 griz. Most of the black bear action was up from Petrified Tree To Floating Island Lake and on Dunraven right before Antelope Creek. Had pretty bad luck with COY, only two sightings, both poor for photography. One of them was Rosie at Rainy Lake and one of them was another sow with two cubs on Dunraven right before Antelope Creek. One peculiar thing we encountered was two adult bears in Petrified Tree hanging out right next to each other. I am surprised they tolerated each other at such close distance to each other. We had a few close encounters with black bears, but most were distant. One time though, at around 5:30, we witnessed a black bear being chased of by a bull bison cause he was getting to close to him. Also, while watching the two bears at Petrified Tree, we suddenly saw one of them bolt! He was going after a deer, but he didn't really put much effort in to it. The chase ended in like 5 seconds. He seemed like a cocky young bear. Had one encounter with a cinnamon yearling in the Picnic Area. He was very playful and active. Also had an encounter with the Phantom Lake Sow and her yearling. Grizzlies were kind of a disappointment. We only saw seven, 4 in Hayden and 3 Lamar, all to far away for photos with 800mm equivalent. We did have one nice encounter visible with the naked eye. We watched a playful young grizzly run around to let off some steam in Hayden. But suddenly he turned serious. He had seen an elk with a calf and was trying to get it. But the elk kept on chasing him off. It was a great encounter. Lots of Foxes! What we missed in bears we made up in foxes. We had three great encounters with a fox in Hayden Valley. He was active in the same area for a couple of mornings and evenings. Our best sighting happened when the fox started strolling by the side of the river, hunted for voles, and crossed right in front of us. We also had a spectacular encounters with the foxes at the Craig Thomas Visitor Center. We saw the kits playing but they were to deep in the brush for photos. Whenever they stuck their head out, we took photos. Wolves: 2 sightings We spent little time looking for wolves, as we were informed it was almost always through scopes. Whenever we were in the area where they were sighted, we took a look, but that is about it. Our two sightings were of the Wapiti alphas and their 4 pups and one pup at the Junction Den Site. Trumpeter Swan: Had two encounters with these graceful birds. One time we saw two at Swan Lake Flats and 3 at Alum Creek at quite close proximity. Moose: Saw four moose. First sighting was extremely unexpected. While driving in the Petrfied area at around 6:15 in the morning we saw a moose and her calf sprint across the road and up in to the trees near the end of the Blacktail Drive. They were definitely spooked by something as they were sprinting! Also had a good encounter with a moose and her calf in the Tetons. We watched the calf breast feed. Side note: Right past Roosevelt Lodge on the way to Petrified Tree, we saw a pine marten cross the road with dinner in its mouth! To quick for photos though! Personal Thoughts: Overall it was a great trip. A least from this trip I think Hayden is WAY better than Lamar. In Lamar we saw grizzlies so far they looked like dots through scopes. We literally did not snap a single photo in Lamar. In Hayden we had close encounters with foxes and swans. Hayden is also much more scenic and in the morning it is blanketed with a beautiful layer of fog. Some shots
Well, I hope folks don't mind another Yellowstone report. Patty's report was really good so I hope I can add to that with ours. We just missed seeing them by a day but they did give us some great intel that helped us out. Thanks Patty and Mark! Here is a link to the first couple of days: http://focusedonnature.blogspot.com/2016/05/yellowstone-day-1-2-may-2016.html And a few teaser shots... Alan
To cull or not to cull? It is a subject that causes heated debate and one that has been discussed to some length in the thread "Hwange's Dilemma" Yet, whereas the issue of culling elephant in one of Africa's National Parks brings howls of protest from all corners of the globe, the regular cull of other species, in the very countries where the loudest voices are raised on all subjects to do with Africa, seem to attract far less attention. Yes there is some local outcry, but it does not seem to be of interest to anyone outside the countries where it is taking place. I read an article today about the proposed cull of over 1,000 bison in Yellowstone Park A few weeks ago a friend mentioned to me that Brumbies, Australia's wild horses (more accurately feral), are culled on a regular basis. Link to just one article Here in the UK, celebrities are jumping on the bandwagon of protest against a national badger cull. badgers are believed by farmers to be a serious pest and spreader of disease. All these proposed culls are seen as a last resort. All are being proposed by the authorities charged with the responsibility of maintaining a particular habitat. Yet whilst all these culls do provoke some domestic protest, that protest very rarely spreads beyond national boundaries. Why is Africa different? Why does the suggestion of a cull in Africa stimulate howls of protest from all corners of the globe? How would Australians feel if Kenyans started a campaign to protest against the Brumby cull? How would Americans feel if Tanzanians swamped the Twittersphere with protests against the proposed bison cull? I am not a proponent of culls. I do not have the expertise to say whether they are right or wrong. But why do people all over the world feel that their views on the management of wildlife in Africa must be taken into consideration?
As a new member, I thought I better build up some credit since by sharing my knowledge on Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. I will undoubtedly have tons of questions for the knowledgable folks on this forum for my future trip plans. So, hopefully I can return the favor if anyone has any questions about these parks. Yellowstone and Grand Teton are wonderful places to visit for wildlife watchers. Both parks are very easy to do on your own in a rental car although hiring a private guide for a day or two worked out really well for us this past trip since we got access to private land and hidden wildlife this way (Fox den and a Great Gray Owl nest) Here is a link to my trip report from June 2013 (which starts in Idaho): http://focusedonnature.blogspot.com/2013/06/idaho-and-yellowstone-days-1-to-3.html You can even view archived trip reports if you are so inclined. I think I have around 4 or 5 for Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Here are a few teaser pictures to give you an overview of the trip: Lamar Valley: Pronghorn: American Bison: Cinnamon Black Bear: American Avocet: Underwater Otter: Bearthooth Highway Vista: Yellow-bellied Marmot: Great Gray Owl: Red Fox:
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