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Yup, Another Yellowstone Report


Atdahl
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Well, I hope folks don't mind another Yellowstone report. Patty's report was really good so I hope I can add to that with ours. We just missed seeing them by a day but they did give us some great intel that helped us out. Thanks Patty and Mark!

 

Here is a link to the first couple of days:

http://focusedonnature.blogspot.com/2016/05/yellowstone-day-1-2-may-2016.html

 

And a few teaser shots...

 

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Alan

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SafariChick

@@Atdahl ha ha love the title and great teaser shots!! I'm totally happy to see another Yellowstone report!

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I haven't finished the other report yet and now we've got another, I'll be following this one as well, thanks for posting.

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Sounds like a great first day. Glad you saw the wolf pups. We never managed to be there when they were out.

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@@Atdahl, fantastic first day. Very healthy looking Black Bear, wouldn't like to bump into them on the trail. Hilarious the family in full camo sitting in their vehicle. What a nice way to end the day, with Pronghorn.

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@@SafariChick, glad to hear it because another report is coming daily (hopefully).

 

@@Big Andy, are you priorities in the right order? Isn't it supposed to be 1. Trip Reports, 2. Family, 3. Work? :)

 

@@Patty, I think we were batting around .500 with the wolf den. We struck out as much as we saw one. But, we aren't quite engaged enough to wait there for hours to see some action. Of course that meant we missed a bear sniffing around the den that the wolves chased off...oh well.

 

@@elefromoz, you hit the nail on the head. We saw tons of bears (as you will soon see) and all were VERY healthy looking. As a matter of fact only a couple of wolves we saw looked unhealthy (due to mange) while all the other wildlife seemed really healthy. That was good to see.

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OK, here is a link to the report for Day 3. If you don't want to see a Bison carcass then you might want to skip the beginning of the report, but it's much tamer than what most of you have seen in Africa.

 

http://focusedonnature.blogspot.com/2016/05/yellowstone-day-3-may-2016.html

 

We had bears galore on this day so hopefully, this one teaser is enough to peak your interest...

 

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Alexander33

Just love the black bear cub peaking out from behind the tree trunk. Looking so much forward to the rest.

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Great bear and bison shots! Was this self drive (I assume yes)?

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Same here. We just don't have the patience to spend hours waiting at the den. Very interesting bison interaction at the carcass.

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@@Alexander33, thanks. Watching those cubs was a lot of fun. Spoiler alert, more bear cub pictures coming...

 

@@PT123, yes this was self drive. It's what most people do and what we recommend. But, there are tour companies available that appear to have nice vans and will have scopes and lots of local knowledge. So, for a first timer it may not be a bad way to go. The Yellowstone Association also has classes as well as tours.

 

@@Patty. Right there with you Patty. We have staked out things before (Fox Dens, Carcass, etc)...but all provided close viewing opportunities. Staking out a wolf den over a mile away just doesn't do it for us when there is so much else to see (hopefully).

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Before the trip started, we knew there was a mother Grizzly with 3 COY hanging out on the West side of the park. So, that was really the only preconceived experience we had flying to Yellowstone. The weather forecast wasn't good after today so we made seeing her and the little ones today's goal. Luckily, we met that goal.

 

http://focusedonnature.blogspot.com/2016/05/yellowstone-day-4-may-2016.html

 

Today's teasers:

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Day 5 was a great day for us. Not only was it the best weather day of the week, but we ended up having a 3 Dog Morning and the ever elusive 3 Dog Night. Not sure what that is? Read on...

 

http://focusedonnature.blogspot.com/2016/05/yellowstone-day-5-may-2016.html

 

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Nice mountain bluebirds! :) I would've thought that was a red herring for sure. Great end of the day wolf and bear interaction.

Edited by Patty
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SafariChick

@@Atdahl those cubs from day 3 - could they be any cuter? Nope!

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Alexander33

@@Atdahl

 

What a memorable experience to spend so much quality time with the mother Grizzly and her cubs. You've done a really great job in capturing the sweeping and majestic landscapes that make this Park so famous.

 

Periodically, I hear talk that maybe there will be some attempt at crowd control. Any developments on that front? The touron problem is definitely a concern -- although your description of that fat family all decked out in camo was hilarious. I'm afraid that, with my mouth, I'd end up getting myself killed or at least seriously injured!

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@@Patty, Yup I guess we underestimated those folks. We do know that people are very protective of unique sightings in Yellowstone and that is for good reason due to all the Tourons that park attracts.

 

@@SafariChick, I know. Simply adorable.

 

@@Alexander33, I don't think crowd control is necessarily the issue. Bear jams that have Rangers are typically really well handled. In fact there is famous "Ranger John" who is as nice as can be and will spout Bear information, Yellowstone facts, and more at the jams he manages. All the really bad offenses recently are by small groups of people and some have had to pay with their lives this summer. It's unfortunate, but maybe it's natural selection at work. Short of the Government allocating more $ to parks so they can hire more Rangers to cover more areas, I am not sure what can be done to stop the idiots that Yellowstone seems to attract. They hand out literature to all who enter and signs are very visible throughout the park. The influx of foreign travelers this year (May saw over 400K visitors for the first time ever) will just make things worse what with the language barrier and all.

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OK, let's wrap this report up.

 

Day 6 was fantastic. The highlight of the day was watching our first Long-tailed Weasel hunting Pika:

 

http://focusedonnature.blogspot.com/2016/05/yellowstone-day-6-may-2016.html

 

 

I combined Days 7 and 8 since the latter was mostly a travel day. But, some pictures from Idaho made the cut too. You will see that just as we were leaving Yellowstone, it gave us one last gift.

 

http://focusedonnature.blogspot.com/2016/05/yellowstone-day-7-8-may-2016.html

 

 

And here are a few photos from these last days:

 

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As said before this park is truely a gem in itself.North american wildlife heaven...were there pumas also??

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Very cool weasel sighting. You had some great wolf sightings too. Glad it was a very productive trip!

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@@Patty, thanks Patty! I was productive.

 

@@gagan, no pumas/cougars. But, there typically are one or two sightings a year around that Greater Yellowstone area. We are still waiting to see our first one. Might have to plan a trip to Chile for that... :)

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Alexander33

@@Atdahl

 

Just a great overall report. I hear Yellowstone whispering my name. Again, wonderful shots of the Grizzlies. I love the black wolf/bison interaction -- fascinating. And you did a really good job with that weaselly weasel. The shot of it lifting its head up from behind that rock brought a smile to my face. Thanks for sharing your experience.

 

And so you are off to Brazil this fall? Fantastic. We are headed there in just a few weeks. Where will you visit?

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I'm still reading the blog entries, but I had to tell you how much I'm enjoying your stories and pictures!

 

We were there a few years ago, but in late August. We saw some bears, but just a few...nothing like the parade of bears you saw. And no cubs for us. And no wolves. An no pika. And no weasel...

 

We definitely need to go back. DO you think spring is generally better for wildlife? Or you were just lucky?

 

Or maybe it was because it was our first time in Yellowstone, and we spent a lot of time admiring the geysers and mud pools?

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@@Alexander33, it was a beary nice trip ;) . Brazil in a few weeks, how exciting! We are doing the Pantanal in September with stays at Pousa Alegre, Porto Jofre, and Barranco Alto. I need to start re-reading all the great trip reports out here to prepare.

 

@@xyz99, thanks. It's nice to know someone besides my wife reads the reports :) . Actually, they are few to read in the future since they help us relive the experiences and enable us to remember things that we forgot.

 

Yes, May has typically been the go to month for us due to less crowds and of course the baby animals. We went once in June so that we could have a better chance at Fox kits (which worked out great) and elk calves but the crowds were significantly increased (but the weather was nicer). This past May was pretty crowded and I suspect that will just continue. But, May/June is better than July/August not only for the crowds but with warmer weather the animals tend to move up in elevation which means away from the roads and more out of sight. Sept/Oct can be a nice time too. You get some fall colors, the rut, Elk Bugling, Elk and Moose and typically the animals look their best because they have grown back their coats for the winter. Speaking of which, some day we will do a winter trip when Wolf watching tends to be best and the crowds pretty non-existent.

 

Our first trip to Yellowstone we did the same thing by checking out all the thermal features. So, that was about half the trip. On subsequent trips I don't think we have checked them out once. They do tend to change but just don't hold our interest for repeat viewings which frees up time to look for more wildlife :) . If you plan a May trip you will definitely see more wildlife than in August.

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