Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Weekend Wildlife

We certainly were not disappointed with the wildlife watching on our weekend trip to Yellowstone National Park.   Anything but, actually. 

Bird Sightings:
Canada goose
Mountain bluebird
Raven
Starling
Clark's nutcracker
Red wing black bird
Violet-green swallow
Killdeer
American Robin
Yellow rumped warbler
Northern flicker
Chipping sparrow
Brown-headed cowbird
Sandhill crane
American dipper
Osprey
Mallard duck
Bald eagle
Great blue heron
Common merganser
Turkey vulture
Tree swallow
Red-tail hawk

Non-bird sightings:
Elk
Bison
Grizzly bear (This was the first time I've seen a grizzly in the wild.  It was the most perfect experience too...not at all scary!  We saw four of them in the span of an hour--a mother and two cubs from about 300 yards and a lone bear from about 100 yards.  It was INCREDIBLE to watch these magnificent creatures.  And to think their range once cover almost the United States and now they almost exclusively live in or around Yellowstone.)
Uinta ground squirrel
Coyote
Golden-mantled ground squirrel
Killdeer, wading through the waters at Mammoth Hot Springs.
Violet-Green Swallow
I need to work on my track identifying ability....
Clark's Nutcracker
Golden-Mantled Squirrel eating dandelions
This is an aquatic mat made up of strands of bacteria.  How crazy is that for wildlife?!
Mountain Bluebird (They were everywhere and never fail to take my breath away.)
Grizzly Bear
Raven...who had apparently been fed in the past as he flew right up to our car as we watched bison.  Feeding wildlife is such a bad idea, but I understand how tempting it can be.  None the less....not a good idea.
Bison....they are like lumbering, fuzzy dinosaurs.
video
 This bison was giving itself a little dust bath.  The video is in sepia colors for some reason.  It was so loud when it slammed itself on the ground!
Coyote, hunting Uinta Ground Squirrels.  While he made a couple pounces he never did get one.
Uinta Ground Squirrel
Sandhill Crane
Common Mergansers
Unless someone was running around off boardwalk and barefoot I tempted to think these are bear tracks, but as mentioned I need to work on that particular naturalist skill.
I wonder what we'll see next time! 

8 comments:

  1. Great post and pictures. I think scat recognition goes along with track recognition.How far are you from Yellowstone?

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    1. From my door to the park in under three hours. I can't quite remember where you live and so perhaps this doesn't seem all that close. I know I've had both an east coaster and a European in distress over the driving distances here, but for Montana that's a reasonable drive since this state is so delightfully huge!

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  2. Such beautiful photos. I showed the tracks to my husband. He is guessing the first are coyote tracks and the latter are grizzly tracks. I love mountain blue birds too. We saw some as we were driving home from the reservoir on Sunday. They take my breath away too. Have you ever been to Montanagirl's blog? She lives in NE Montana and takes spectacular bird photos.

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    1. They are just breathtaking. There is no way around it, I think. That blue! Its just unreal...and yet real!

      No, I've never visited her blog. I will have to do so. I love birds and I have so few Montana blog-friends. Thanks for the suggestion.

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  3. Congrats on your first griz sighting. 100 yards is getting might close, though. It's hard to distinguish coyote from wolf tracks without knowing size--as a rule of thumb, <3" = coyote; >3" = wolf. Note that canid tracks are usually a little longer than width.

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    1. Yes, I wouldn't have wanted to be any closer! But the bear was mostly ambling away from us which made it more reassuring.

      Thanks for the rule of thumb. I'll remember that.

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  4. Gorgeous wildlife pics!!! That aquatic bacteria mat is amazing! So are the bluebirds! :)

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    1. It is a regular wildlife paradise! They are just everywhere and oh, so stunning.

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