Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We Meet a Snake

We kicked off camping season with the first trip this past weekend - late in the season to start, but with a cold, rainy spring and too much on our to do lists, it was better late than never. I love camping, though I don't know why really. It's work to pack up, work to set up and take down camp, and work to cook food over a fire. But, it's still fun to be away from people and alone with the dogs in a tent. This trip, we went with a friend and her dog as well, and since we usually camp alone, that was a nice twist. We got my very favorite campsite, which was a great way to start the year, and it was as perfect as I remembered it.

On the way home we went on a short hike. On the road we came across a snake; I wasn't sure what kind it was but I took a few photos. It surprised me as it was laying on the sand in the shade and not the sun. It was not there on the way up so it must have come out of the grass along the road while we were hiking or playing in the river. If you recognize it, let me know what kind it is. It did not bother the dogs or us and I did not think it posed any threat.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Coyotes

Coyotes were not hard to see in Yellowstone, including coyotes on fresh and older kills. As you can see, the one on the right had a radio collar, so I was wondering what they are studying and who is doing the study. I like coyotes and enjoyed each sighting, even the one where the New Yorker was being obnoxious trying to get a photo and cutting off other tourists.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Other Mothers

A departure from the Yellowstone pics to bring you this nice and uplifting video a friend shared with me today.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Moose

Luckily we were able to find some moose in the Lamar Valley as well. We saw three or four different cow moose (one of which is pictured on the right), and one young male (on the left). Here are a couple pics. The moose like to hang out near Cook City, and in willows. We looked for them in the Hayden Valley too but never saw them there. We didn't see any young calves, but it would be cool to go back another time and see if we could find some.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Beaver

Lamar Valley in Yellowstone was a nice place to see small animals as well as large. On the north side of the road we found a beaver dam, and one could easily lean out the car window and watch a beaver eating willows, swimming about, or using his tiny paws and claws to hold something to his mouth. Very cute!!! Here is a front and back view.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Big Horn Sheep

Twice on our trip we saw big horn sheep close to the road. Once it was a small group of ewes and a ram, and the other time it was this single ram. The view of the ram was great, but there were some people who, acting like idiots, walked right up to him to get "close up" photos. They were literally five feet from the ram, who had a strange expression on his face as if trying to decide what to do about it. When he took a few steps a small herd of photographers followed him. He drew a crowd fairly quickly, and posed for quite some time with his muscular stance and his huge rack of horns. It was a nice viewing overall, despite the tourists.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Marmot on the rocks

Driving through Yellowstone we saw this nice little marmot on the rocks, getting the last of the days sun before nightfall. He/she sat for a long while, posing nicely for photos.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Baby Bison

Baby bison have orange coats, so they are easy to spot. We saw tons of them - playing, romping, bouncing, napping and nursing. It was very cool!!! I loved just sitting beside the road and watching the herds of cows and babies. When crossing the road the babies stayed on the far side and were nosed along and not allowed to linger. They have little purple tongues. I have a ton of great baby bison pictures, but these are two of my favorites (same baby). Seeing the calves was a nice benefit to spring Yellowstone travel.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Great Wolf Sighting

I know it's been awhile, but I had a few work emergencies to catch up on. Now I resume with some Yellowstone pics from our spring trip. We were hoping to see wolves, as we did during our visit in 2008. However, we had previously seen them only very far away, through a scope or binoculars. This trip we were fortunate enough to see several wolves fairly close to the road, easily seen with the naked eye and close enough for photos.

The above photo is from our very best sighting. The wolf was in Hayden Valley just north of Nymph Lake. He was patrolling his territory and marking it, so he was moving quickly. We were probably only 20 feet from him. However, there was not enough time to zoom in with the camera - he was moving fast and I could not zoom and focus so I got three photos but one has the car window in it, one he has his head behind a bush, and then there is this one. I would have loved to have a second longer to zoom in, but as you can see in this non-zoomed photo, the grey wolf is clearly visable. Callie was in the car with us and I wondered if she would smell the wolf or bark. The wolf looked at her but kept going - but he did stop and look. It was a very cool experience over all and one we won't soon forget. The best part - in addition to the proximity - was we were alone. There was no other car or tourist there so we had a lovely private viewing.