Monday, May 29, 2017

The Yellowstone Bridge

Crossing into the Northern Tier we cross several fun bridges.  What's most fun is that we humans live under the major delusion that the bridges, built by humans are for humans.....oh no!  They are actually for the animals - specifically the bears and the bison!  But we humans live in this folly that we can use the bridges every once in a while.

These first two are Walt's and you can see the beautiful job he does taking a photograph.  They almost come alive.  The water is up this year because of the heavy snow and snow melt is making all the rivers full and raging!  The white water raft business is booming!

 These are my shots, and not nearly as crisp as Walt's but another view of the bridge on either side.

And continuing with our water theme on this blog....this is Beartooth Lake one year when we were here a little later.  It really is beautiful.
On our trip, yesterday - here's Beartooth Lake and it was as cold as it looks!!!

As a final video, buckle your seat belts and get out the barf's a quick trip to the top of Beartooth the day after opening day!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Playful Trickster

I have always thought of the coyote as a playful trickster.  Here's a short video on a couple of coyote shorts we took the last couple of days. 

It starts on a kill on the east side of the park as we were leaving to get on the great Beartooth Highway, we came across this wolf kill.  The wolves had been on the kill all night and only bones were left, but enough for the coyotes.  This lone coyote was telling the wolves that it was his turn to get on the carcass!

The second two are playful short videos of coyotes we've seen in the park.  Personally, they are almost as much fun as the two darling coy cubs we've run across. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


One year we were here and a gathering was photographing a coyote, and one couple was British.  They kept talking about a koweyote and I kept thinking what in the world are they talking about.  I finally figured out that this was their pronunciation of what they thought the spelling would be.  So from now on, I refer to coyotes (kyoties) as koyots!!!!

They are probably the most fun animal to photograph, besides coy cubs. Coy is cub of the year, meaning it's a brand new cub.  A yearling is a cub that has been with the sow for a year and is in the second year with the sow.  At the end of the second year the sow will either kick the cub out or a boar will chase off the cub so he can mate with the sow.  Coys are great fun, but coyotes are always fun!

You can simply be driving along and suddenly you'll see a something running across the meadow or prairie and suddenly you stop and get the camera ready and it's like some publicity hound.  The coyote stops too and before you know it the coyote is almost modeling for you.  This is what makes them so much fun.

So catching her, she's thinking - ah-ha, I've finally got enough of an audience, I can pretend to be hunting.  

 So here she is hunting and she's very effective at it.......

Finally, she's bored like any paparazzi hound and sneaks off into the sage to hide from us

And she's right....only to the frustration of all us Yellowstone Paparazzi!

So I'm sure you noticed that we've been behind in blogging.  Not really my fault as Walt wanted to trek out to the very other end (eastern end) of YNP in the morning.

Now I'm not going to tell you that viewing Venus as the morning star with the background of the Absaroka Range isn't beautiful, but maybe I needed something more than herb tea to enjoy it.

It really did get better as the sun rose - although going through the entire Northern Tier in the pitch black dark (yep, we left the RV at 3 am - that's THREE IN THE MORNING!!!!  I had to get up at 2:30 am to make that 3 am call!)

So what was the purpose of this early morning call?  We had heard there was moose in the area but only at the crack of dawn!

Well, there was, but not where we had anticipated, but Walt always gets his moose!!!
And she was a skittish little thing.  Every car that went by and she would run, but came back to gets some of that delicious willow - yummy!!!

Then we turned around and went back towards Lamar Valley.  When I say this place never disappoints, every day we start out the same direction taking the same roads, and every day it's a whole new drama in Lamar Valley - it's always something!  This day we were hunting for the perfect bison portrait for Walt's son.  He has an abundance of wall space, like most male bachelors, and wants a bison to fill it.  It turns out that even though this is the Serengeti of North America, and there are literally tons of buffalo on the valley, it's hard to get just the right portrait of one.  Oh well, we'll try again tomorrow.

So we heard a rumor that there was an owl's nest not far and bounced down there to check it out.  This is Walt's first attempt, we made another later, but this is a catch-up post.  There are two chicks (owlets or whatever) in the nest but you can't see them here.  More on this later, because we got so rudely interrupted by.....

This is the beginning of a serious car jam which can only be caused by one thing.....BEAR JAM!  Bear jams are the daddy of all jams in YNP.  When you see a whole huge collection of cars and usually two rangers it means one thing - bears are near the road and get the camera and park the car as fast as you can, and that ain't easy in a bear jam.

This particular jam had two cute darling cubs  - OK, all cubs are cute, but the one you are photography right this second is the cutest one of all!

And lastly, we met another coyote...this one was seriously hunting.  So lest you think that we are suckers for these animals, here's the daily video - a really cute coyote hunting and getting his dinner!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Round About Way of Getting Places

Sometimes things don't work your way and you just have to go with the flow.  There's some construction in the park, and I decided that we could.  Unfortunately, the construction was not friendly to us.  We had to go all the way around the park to get to Hayden Valley.
That little tiny blotch that is not traveled of the "figure 8 of Yellowstone" has road construction on it, and of course, that would have been the easy and fastest way, but we had to go all the way to the south to get to our destination.

Now I know that Hayden isn't as prolific as the Lamar Valley and when we're around the Lamar for so long, we get really spoiled.  We begin to think that all national parks have this many animals and that every place in Yellowstone is this populated with animal life.  We get used to seeing so much in the park that we think that this special place in normal.  It takes a trip away from the Lamar Valley for us to realize just how special the Serengeti of North America really is!

But the trip wasn't all in vain.  Yellowstone Lake is still partially frozen and the Absaroka Range that borders the eastern part of Yellowstone Lake is beautiful in the reflection.  This is a large photo (or was uploaded as such) and so when you click on it, it should be really large.

Before we left Lamar there was a group of playful young rams on the cliffs next to the confluence of the Soda Butte Creek and the Lamar River.  They are truly agile and patrician animals - course I guess if you were on top all the time you'd be looking down too!

Here's a great video of Walts of the rams.....

Saturday, May 20, 2017


You may have noticed the blogs are getting shorter.  We're taking more and more pictures with less time to process them all - that means going through and finding the really good ones.  I like to write at least a little something each night to keep up to date with what we're doing and so we can keep it all straight when we get back home.  Being as old as we are, we aren't afraid of trekking around, but we do forget what day what happened without some sort of daily log.  

Just because we do a lot of animals doesn't mean we shy away from the birds....there are also a ton here.  From birds of prey to nesting birds to beautiful songbirds.  Here's a video of Walt's selection of birds.

 This may not be the most exciting bird video, but Walt loves the way his camera does video.  The noise at the first is not static, it is the rush of the Lamar River through the Lamar Canyon where the Osprey have their nest.  They fish in the river, and they are very good, and feed their young.  Pretty smart to set up housekeeping right next to the grocery store!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fun Day With A Very Cute Ending!

Another great day in the park Northern Tier.  This is a quick post cause there's so much so mostly pictures tonite of today's foray into the park.  I may have failed to mention this but you can click these photos to see larger versions.  The HD versions will be posted later as the internet access we have her is basic at best and large HD versions and I would be up all night loading these suckers on our site!!!

Starting with the waterfowl....the sandhills are a great find in the park, but one was sitting on a nest

This is one we haven't seen before - a Northern Pintail.
A favorite of ours - well mine - because I like this color:  Cinnamon Teal

A face only a mother could love, but this is one of the prettiest mooses (meeses?) we've ever seen
 See what I mean - I mean honestly is this not some sort of mistake!!!  Apparently not!

And this is not even the cute section....but a coyote yipping in Lamar Valley  - sorry we didn't have an audio on this. 

And again as we were leaving the park....a mama with her mouth full of greenery (does she need a toothpick or what?)!

And now (drum roll maestro) the cute department and no caption cause it will take away from the awwwwwwww background noise!!!

These were the darling little black bear cubs from the mama above.  They are brand new and still suckling and so precious that we couldn't pass this photo moment up!

More tomorrow!!!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Why Do We Come To Yellowstone In The Spring

Spring seems like such a dumb time to come - it's cold, snowing (not every year, but a lot), and it just doesn't seem very hospitable.  But from another point of view, it's before the park is inundated with masses of people - truly the roads are jam packed with cars during the summer months and then there's the babies.   Good grief - the babies...calves, kids, lambs,  cubs, kits, pups and chicks - you name it they are all out.  Today was a perfect example.  It started out slow and cold and cloudy and ended fast and furious and sunny!

The day started out slow.  The bison are out and they are roaming like crazy.  The cows haven't started dropping calves, but will in a week or so.  In the meantime, these majestic creatures are gorgeous in the snow - when it's not snowing (the camera likes to focus on the snow and not the creature)!  

 These are such beautiful shots with the bison looking straight on.  You will be glad to know that we were in the car when this was taken!

From there we went to an old osprey nest that is now active again.  Can't see her?

This may help....she's sitting very low on the nest and it's a good thing.  All that snow can't be too warm and cozy for the chicks. 

In the meantime, Mr. Osprey is out fishing the Lamar River (this nest is in the Lamar Canyon), and doing a great job with this huge trout - almost as big as the bird.
So it looks like there are chicks in the nest - being fed the usual way that birds like to do!
He then takes up residence on his "yes, dear" branch being very supportive, I'm sure!

The nice thing about having a few years under our belt in Yellowstone is that we know where all the usual suspects are - like the old osprey nest, the old owl's nest at the ranger station and Aspen East and West which always have Kestrels.  They are the smallest of birds of prey and they are really beautiful.  This one happened to be evicting a large crow that had taken up residence in the old Kestrels' nest site.  It was really fun to watch and believe it or not the Kestrel will win this battle and have the chicks in that usurped crow's spot!

So we're pretty pleased with ourselves when we come upon some rangers and a crowd of people gawking at something and over on a rise close to the road were the most regal looking rams ever.  I had never seen rams together like this, but in the spring the ewes are in one area and the rams another as the ewes are getting ready to deliver.

Rams always have a way of looking at you like, "Now, who gave you permission to take my picture?"  And you want to scurry away after you've snuck in a shot or two!  They caused such a fuss that they got bored and moved on.

And this is what so often happens in Yellowstone, while we were taking some shots here, in the other direction was a darling fox scampering across a meadow just behind us.  Of course, after we apologized to the Rams for our interruption, the crowd quickly did an 180 and scurried after the fox. 

She's so ladylike and cute.  Walt was so close he had a hard time getting the whole animal in his lens.  At the same time, our landscape lens on the other camera wasn't zoom enough to get a good shot of this fox.  She headed right toward an old den location, so maybe we may be looking at that den for a new litter of kits!

So we're pretty excited about the day.  It's about 3:30 and usually we head back to the RV at this point - but not today.

As we're coming up over the hill, there's a huge traffic jam and that means one thing....BEAR JAM!
 Here you can see with the landscape lens how far apart they were.  Mom had told cub to run up a tree, so what does cub do?....yep, you guessed it - run up a tree!!!

 Here's one of the cubs scurrying to keep up with mom.

And here's the sow working at eating and keeping track of the kids while she's catching up from a long winter in hibernation. 

This is what makes Yellowstone so much fun during the Spring.  There's something going on all the time.  This year we've also noticed that's it a little more crowded than past years, but it's still a blast. 

Tomorrow looks to be a little warmer and now that we have some "hot spots" we'll hopefully get to see a lot more goodies!