|Yellow Bellied Marmot. They were everywhere. They sit up on rocks and sun themselves in an adorable fashion. I have a fondness with anything even remotely red-headed like these guys and foxes. I just think red hair is so pretty!|
|American Red Squirrel. In Lost in My Own Backyard by Tim Cahill that there is a theory that squirrels "yell" and chatter at you when you are in the forest because we are somewhat similar in movement and shape to bears who steal the squirrels' hard-saved caches of nuts. I don't know if its true, but I thought it was a very interesting theory in any case. I have always wondered why the squirrels chattered so loudly when we approached them in the forest. It seems most small creatures would just be quiet until we passed by rather than draw all that attention to themselves so maybe there is something to it.|
|Common Merganser. Mergansers are among our favorite water birds. They all have really cool mo-hawks and hoods, just really fancy heads, when breeding.|
The Grand Geyser made me laugh out loud and shout like I was watching fireworks or something. I am enthralled and amazed with the idea of boiling mud. We are planning a hike to the peak of Mount Washburn on our next trip. I found the Grand Prismatic Spring astounding. But, those critters! They are equally as much a part of the park experience as the geographic features for me. They make my heart race because seeing them is all chance. Old Faithful goes off, more or less, like clockwork. One knows where to find the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone...its not like it is moving about the park or anything. I think maybe that is why the wildlife are so thrilling. I always feel lucky when I happen to catch the coyotes hunting, the bears digging, the bald eagle soaring, the marmots sunning, the squirrels scurrrying. It is always so brief and so magical. There is no guarantee you can stop and savor the sights for long because just as quickly as they appear they are gone again. Apparently many visitors come almost exclusively for wildlife viewing. And to think that wasn't even a part of the original master plan.....