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25 January, 2013

What's different a month later

I researched the wildlife on my favorite Yellowstone web site,, and came to the conclusion that we needed an early breakfast at Chico and to start our visit early. This was a great idea as we saw a lot more wild life on this trip than on our last one. The elk were much more prevalent and this youngster, standing in the snow was a favorite image. The big boys must have been hiding, but there were a lot like this one.
Although there were a lot of bison before, we got more interesting glimpses of them as they were closer to the road. We thought this one was trying to hide from us but how can a big guy like this find shelter behind a tree.
Soon after we left Mammoth, we rounded a curve in the road and saw a coyote enjoying breakfast. There appeared to be a lot more food that this coyote could consume and we did not see any of it's relatives.
 However, not far away we saw this magpie. If you look closely, magpies do not have any red color around their head, so we guessed that this one had either been feasting before the coyote arrived or perhaps it was able to sneak in and grab a bite. Needless to say, it was not in a hurry to leave.
But the magpie is going to have to wait because look what's in a nearby tree waiting for it's turn.
We had seen and enjoyed all of this and we still had only been in the park for less than 2 hours. Marty had already agreed, that we would have an early breakfast on our next trip to Chico and Yellowstone. Shortly after you pass the Roosevelt junction and head toward Lamar Valley, you travel across a bridge that crosses the Lamar River. We have seen wildlife choose to cross the bridge rather than ford the river. On this day, we watched this herd of bison gather at one end of the bridge and started their journey to the other side. Needless to say, we had to wait until they had all crossed. While we were waiting we observed bighorn sheep in the river valley trying to find something to eat.
On to the Lamar Valley. There were a lot of Bison there as well. The folks with spotting scopes were watching wolves in the distance. As you know, I want to be up close, therefore we kept traveling. Soon after we passed a group of the spotters, I spotted something I could capture with my camera.
As you can see, they were quite a distance away. They were either full or awaiting something to get nearby for them to eat. They were not moving and we watched them for several minutes, they did not move.

On to Cooke City, a bowl of chili and we returned. There was not the wild life on our return with the exception of pronghorn. Before we left the park, we had seen more pronghorn than we had ever seen before. I must have snapped at least 100 photos of them and when we got home, this was our favorite.
We will return again in another month. Clint will have a new lens for his camera at that time and we'll have to see what is lined up for him to photograph.