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!

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