Yellowstone Diary

August 19, 2018

Many visitors to Yellowstone think Bison are like gentle, placid cows. Making that assumption is a big mistake. Large male bison can weigh up to a ton. From Wikipedia: "Bison temperament is often unpredictable. They usually appear peaceful, unconcerned, even lazy, yet they may attack anything, often without warning or apparent reason. They can move at speeds up to 35 mph (56 km/h) and cover long distances at a lumbering gallop." During the rut, in July and August, the bulls are totally focused on the task at hand. They pick a female and guard her from all other takers. Unlike the hype of some...

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August 18, 2018

Although Yellowstone National Park is loved nearly to death these days it is clear that people need the park. The excitement and enthusiasm at seeing wildlife is clear. Most visitors are not prepared to view wildlife in a wild environment where they are commonly located a mile away. Having the right optics to bring the animals closer into view is required for a good viewing experience. We have an adapter for our spotting scope that allows the cellphone to be attached and to view what the scope is seeing on the screen. This allows multiple people to "see through the scope" at the same time. Mountain...

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August 16, 2018

The Elk population in Yellowstone was overgrazing the Park in the early 90s. With no predators, they were damaging the landscape. When wolves were introduced the elk numbers fell to a balance point that was sustainable and it gave the new wolves a boost. After the balance point was reached the wolf numbers fell also and an equilibrium was found. This handsome guy posed for me on the slopes of Mount Washburn. Next entry in diary

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August 15, 2018

Mule Deer are found mostly in the Rocky Mountains. The blacktail deer is a sub-species of Mule Deer. Although capable of running, mule deer are often seen stotting (also called pronking), with all four feet coming down together. This doe and her fawns frequent the Colter Campground. Next entry in diary

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August 14, 2018

Ten of the Junction Butte wolf pack were found lounging around Slough Creek. We were a little late and they were moving up into the rocks when we arrived but Barb followed them up into the rocks and noticed some Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep. Next entry in diary

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August 13, 2018

Bison run. Not a herd mentality stampede. Purposeful running. Today we saw this herd with many groups where it was like a leader said "Ok today we are all running to the south pasture, stay with your sub-groups and you can stop for water at the pond but I want to see everyone running up the hill afterward." Seven groups came running in, separated by a few minutes each, some stopped for a drink of water and some just ran through. I wonder if it was for a trophy or cash prizes? Next entry in diary

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August 12, 2018

The Bison rut is nearing in Yellowstone. The bulls are pairing up with females and protecting their choices, until another bull decides to challenge them. Next entry in diary

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August 11, 2018

We were able to see the Junction Butte wolf pack this morning. The first chance to see this years puppies. This video shows one pup that is nearly full size but full of energy playing. Next entry in diary

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August 6, 2018

The snow was deep this year in the Beartooths. It was late in melting and melted all at once in late June. Here in Colter campground the melting snow filled up a couple of low spots forming small ponds. This Goldeneye mother decided these were not bad ponds to raise her chicks even if they would not last all summer. Next entry in diary

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August 5, 2018

Today I stalked the elusive Stoat. I got up early and trekked 10 miles up Henderson Mountain. It was treacherous and stormy. I had to climb up a sheer vertical cliff to get to the lair of this handsome beast. As I climbed through a field of wild flowers, I caught sight of my prey. Long, sleek and with a black tip on his tail. He darted and ran, I chased and did not give up. Then he... well, peeked out through the mag wheels on my Suburban this morning. This little guy is also known as the Short Tailed Weasel or, in his winter coat, the Ermine. A native of Europe, he migrated to the U.S....

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