Yellowstone Diary 2020

August 21-22, 2020 Junction Butte wolves feeding on bison carcass

The Junction Butte Pack of wolves has 18 puppies to feed born of three different mothers. That's a lot of mouths to feed so it's fortunate that, about a week ago, there were three separate bison carcasses relatively near to where the puppies are being kept, making it easier for the adult wolves to bring food to the pups. The first video shows four wolves, three black and one gray, feeding on the carcass. Two of the wolves are collared; 1229M is the black and 1228F is believed to be the gray, although she may be 907F. The black wolf with a white spot on the back of its neck is a male. In the second...

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August 18, 2020 – Seven gray puppies

There were 18 puppies born to three different females of the Junction Butte Pack of wolves in Yellowstone this spring, 11 black and seven gray. (It's a myth that only the alpha male and female mate.) Typically, a female has four to five pups. The mortality rate for wolf pups can often be high, so the pups are always being counted. Until recently, only 16 and then 17 puppies had been counted, first 10 black and six gray, then 11 black pups were counted. In the past week, seven gray pups have been counted, as verified in the following video, accounting for all 18 pups. It is easiest to count the pups...

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August 5, 2020

One good thing to remember when watching wildlife is to make sure something is not watching you...from behind. Bison roam all around and no matter how exciting the wolf watching is I try to break and look around for other visitors. Today a pair of Badgers came out below our vantage point and it was really fun to watch them. Badgers are the big brothers of the Mustelidae family which include weasels, ferrets and wolverine. They dig for squirrels, mice and groundhogs in the soft sandy soil of the grasslands. They have low-slung bodies and short legs. With their characteristic black and white...

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August 3, 2020

The coytoe and the wolf share the smae spaces. Not that they are happy about it though. Wolves will kill coyotes found in their territory. In this video the wolf is wanting some breakfast at a new carcass in the Lamar River. He wants to get their before the bears arrive and take it for themselves. THe coyote is unhappy that the wolf is taking a shortcut through his territory but all he can really do about it is make a lot of noise. The video does clearly show the differences in size, color and the height of the legs and the tails. https://youtu.be/QE_FQJdtaxg

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August 1, 2020

The Junction Butte Pack puppies are getting bigger but they are still not ready to head out with the pack. This morning we find them out early in Slough Creek and a couple of adults bring the pups breakfast. https://youtu.be/kQwaMWeg1f0

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July 21, 2020

We had a quiet morning in Slough creek watching and listening for wildlife. But the only thing we heard was the sound of an airplane engine. But this is not a bad thing because it was the lead scientist of the Yellowstone Wolf restoration project Doug Smith. We can often see him flying in a small plane combing the valleys at low altitude looking for wolves. Checking on the packs. Next Entry in Diary

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July 19, 2020

Arising early and persistence are two things that usually pay off when trying to view wildlife in Yellowstone. From one day to the next you can never know what you might see. One day, you might see nothing of note and the next may be a banner day for viewing. Yesterday, we saw very little at our favorite viewing spot. We saw one black wolf for about five seconds in the far distance. This morning, upon entering the Park just before daybreak, we saw a black wolf about 100 feet off the road near Barronette. It was too dark to make a photograph. We wondered if it was a wolf from the Lamar Pack, whose...

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July 17, 2020

Yellowstone National Park is not all about the big game. It is an important stop over for migratory birds and it has its own bird residents. There are Sand Hill Cranes, Great Blue Herons, Peregrine Falcons, Bald Eagles and Swans. There are Red Cross-bills and Mountain Bluebirds that we don't get to see at home. They spend their winters at lower altitudes and head to the alpine hillsides for the summer at up to 12,000 ft. Next Entry in Diary

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July 16, 2020

Do run run run, Do run run... Yes, like the Bison, Pronghorn run and they run really fast. The Pronghorn, not an antelope, is the fastest land animal in the U.S. They have such a maximized lung and heart capacity for running that there are no predators that can catch them. Scientists believe that they evolved to evade an extinct American cheetah. This little fawn was feeling its oats this morning. https://youtu.be/WZBJgeOX0q0 Next Entry in Diary

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July 15, 2020

The Running of the Bulls It is not Pamplona, Spain but the bulls (and cows and calves) do run in Yellowstone. On a number of occasions we have seen large numbers of Bison run and, no, there is nothing chasing them. In this video, a large herd of maybe 500-700 Bison run from a high meadow down and through the Lamar Valley after crossing the Lamar River whose swift current can carry a little calf away. The last time we witnessed this event, the Bison were coming over a hill along side a little lake, then up another hill and down the other side. They could not see where the other Bison before...

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