Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Grizzly from Slough Creek

Not to be undone by Facebook which has posted this movie poorly - here is a great vid of ALL the vids Walt took with his new camera and his new extender (it changes his 500mm to a 1000mm lens)!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fun to be bored in Yellowstone

We're waiting for the holiday weekend crowds to thin out, so we're sitting around resting and Walt gets bored, particularly now that he has a new toy.

A lovely smiling doe!  Course life is pretty nice on the lawn at Mammoth Hot Springs

And a chilling young buck on the lawn.

 A lovely Western Wood-Pewee.

A great close-up of the normally skittish

And a great shot of the very far away golden eagles near Slough Creek.  Most of the crowd there (looking at two dots on a far away hill who were bears) didn't even know they couple was nesting down the road, but I'm sure if they did the couple are nervous wrecks by now!

It's at times like these with the crowd there, I appreciate the rangers.  They do the best they can to help keep the animals from having a nervous breakdown who are just trying to raise their little offspring. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Pure cuteness

Sometimes you run across something so cute it's hard to call it anything else.  This morning we ran into a vixen and her kits, and they were nothing but energy and she was nothing but on guard.  The whole thing was, well, just plain ole cute!

Amidst the cacophony of photography shutter clicking, is the sneaking anguish that card space is running short.  This is the horror of every photographer in the middle of cuteness playing out right in front of you and BOOM - your card is full!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Timing is everything.

You hear that a lot in photography and especially when you photographing nature and natural phenomenon.  You have to be there at the right time and you have to accomplish everything just right - get your lighting set up and f-stop and shutter speed, and I feel sometimes like I'm learning how to photograph all over again.

But then you have a great turnout, and it's all worth it.

This is a fairly common event if you're in Yellowstone and you know about light and natural phenomenon, but there is a rainbow on the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River that you can see at a certain time a certain time of year.  The sun is at the correct angle, the falls mist is at just the right angle and the location at Artist's Point is at just the right angle and everything comes together.

Click either one of the photos to see them larger, because they really did come out well.

As if the color of the Yellowstone Canyon isn't enough, this beautiful rainbow makes it almost fake looking.

This is interesting to watch this time cause I knew what was going to happen, but you get the purple (or rather the violet) color first, then the others fill in till you get all of the Roy G Biv (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet) spectrum, and nothing colors better than nature.

First Sun Shinny Day

And what a hit:

 This is a beautiful Blue Heron in mating plumage, which you can see on the back of the bird.  Doesn't show much while flying, but it's really beautiful.

There's an Osprey nest closer to where we are staying, but on a visit on the Madison River, this was a blast to see one so close.

 An old fav location is an old Golden Eagle's nest on Slough Creek, and it's back in operation...both parents were on the nest today.

Finally here's the female (or so I think it is) doing a little nesting.  The black figure to the right is not a bird, but a black splotch on the rock which looks like a bird, and makes it really easy for me to find the nest location!!!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

First full day at Yellowstone

Today was our first full day in the park, and it did not disappoint.  We haven't seen coyotes in a while, and this little guy crossed our path early this morning.

Then we found this wonderful osprey nest on the Lamar River.  Osprey love to fish (and they are very good at it) so this is like setting up house next door to the restaurant.  They are such wonderful parents, but maybe a little intensive in their next building?...oh well, we all have issues!!!

Finally, one of the deep dark secrets of our trips to Yellowstone is that Claire seemed to bring a "bear jinx" everytime she showed up.  IOW, bears were every where, except when Claire comes to YNP, the bears go hiding.  Although the first group was (in Walt's exact estimation, "A long way away!") in the distance, they were still bears.
 Then 2 hours later we saw a black sow with a black cup & cinnamon cup just like the "long way away" family.  That was about 6 to 7 miles in 2 hours.  The rangers then informed us that a black & cinnamon cup in the same family isn't all that rare, so it was probably another family - at least I'm counting it that way....so far that makes the total for the first day 6 bears!!!

Finally just outside Mammoth (from Mammoth to Lava Creek) was this pair a cinnamon mom and black cup!  However not all of them were cooperative.  These two just didn't want to have a Kodak moment!  I can't understand why!!!

And finally, there's nothing like a great dust wallow - if you're a bison that is!!!  You can almost see the satisfaction. This time of hear the bison are rubbing up against anything and everything to shed their winter coat, and a good dirt wallow is just what feels good!

Friday, May 17, 2013

The thing about spring in Yellowstone....

....is that everyone and I mean EVERYONE is out.  However there are many rainy days, but even the rainy days are pretty.....

Our view out the back window of the RV.


They say (the infamous they you know!!!) that the reasons Yellowstone is so terrific is the amount of water that comes in and out of the park.  Without it, it would just be another piece of dried parched earth.

So spring brings snow melt and lots of creeks and run-offs turn into rivers and sloughs with the inevitable wildlife surrounding it getting their fair share of the benefits.

One of those are the Yellowstone raptors who fish the rivers better than any professional fisherman (course they also get to keep their catch and eat it too).

So it's always fun when we're set up close to a river and see this fly overhead:
He was just perusing the river when we noticed him flying toward us.  Fortunately Walt had his camera all set and another great shot from him.  This fellow looks like he might be just entering maturity - maybe about 3 y/o-ish, marked by the spotty white in the under belly and the dark spots on his white head.  But definitely an American Eagle.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Our Favorite Yellowstone Ranger

Ranger John is one of our favorite rangers on the scene at Yellowstone.  He's always at the major bear jams, which are the penultimate traffic jams in Yellowstone.

He's also the author of such witicisms as:
Please all stay together as it's easier for me to keep track of you and easier for the bear to eat you!  
This is when the crowd spreads out too far for a ranger to manage and for a ranger to make sure that the visitors are always safe.   Of course he's joking, but it always gets a great laugh and immediately endears him to the crowd.

Another Ranger John witicisms:
Please make sure your car is off the white line and that you are on the side of the white.  A really mean ranger is getting ready to come on duty and he will write tickets like crazy so I just wanted to warn you before he gets here.  
And of course another round of laughter.

But Ranger John is best when he is talking about what's going on.  Lately he was explaining that this was a Black Bear sow with a black cub and a cinnamon cub which is more common than you think.  Another example of Ranger John's explanations was the time (last year) he explained while a Black Bear boar was scaring away some yearling cubs and mating with their mother, while school kids were present and some were expressing that this was cruel, Ranger John was very sensitive in explaining that this is nature's way and very normal for bears but not for humans!!!!

Basically the magic of Ranger John is that he is almost the perfect balance of discipline and education that is not patrician or condescending sprinkled with wonderful pieces of information that are not generally known.

This short video is just a small sample of Ranger John's great character.  When you see him, be sure and thank him for his service, and that makes you even more willing to obey all the rules, staying off the road, parking off the road and not getting sassy with the rangers.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

And now for an awwwwww moment!

Why do bears cause such a commotion - who knows....but they do
And what could be cuter than a darling cub sitting behind it's mom....actually there are two cubs here, but the other one is up a tree right above them!

A face only a mother could love

I'm not sure what the plan was when a moose was created.  I'm sure there was a bottom line, but for the life of me, I can't see it.
The body is all out of proportion to the legs (they are too short) and then there's that head thing with the goofy ears and the long rounded snout.
For some reason we just haven't seen these a lot in the last couple of years, and this is one of the great things I love about visiting Yellowstone in the spring - you get to see EVERYTHING....

....including a face only a mother could love!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

And after the amber waves of grain....

....comes the purple mountains majesty.
This is our first glimpse of the Teton Range (the Grand Tetons on the left), crossing the continental divide.  It was very cold there as you can tell.

T├ęton means nipple in French and theoretically some French explorers/trappers came upon these mountains and named them.  Either they were terrible confused or very horny!!!

They are very dramatic and very beautiful.

Monday, May 13, 2013


As one travels through the amber plains of grain the land is beautiful, but flat and even though it produces so much food for the country, we're always looking for something a little different to photograph. 

This is the beginning of corn and winter wheat season, and the sprinklers were out in force.  Course professional agronomists do not call it sprinklers...it's an irrigation system!!!!

And they are amazingly efficient and yet really beautiful.

So as we are passing along on the interstate we're passing many, many trucks, and in the passenger side, I'm noticing the mirrors in the trucks......
Yep, that's us passing a red trucker - unfortunately his other rear view mirror is in the way - I'm not sure why it has to be there anyway - they could just take it off while we're passing them!!!!

After all!!!!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

We are getting ready to head out for points north, which means we will be posting here frequently....also if you would like to keep up with us you can Like us on our Facebook page, or you can click the link to the right!

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