Visit to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons

This lonely barn is near where I saw my

This lonely barn is near where I saw my “life” Sage Thrasher, one of seven life birds for the trip.

I must admit that Yellowstone/Grand Tetons had not been high on my list of places to visit until my friend wolf biologist Cristina Eisenberg told me about the birds and wildlife in the Lamar Valley and the positive effects the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone.  I wasn’t able to attend either of her two seminars there in May, but we traveled there in early June with friends and I found it’s much more than Old Faithful.  The geothermal features were interesting to be sure but we found them crowded with tourists even so early in the season.

Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in the U.S., was strangely beautiful.

Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in the U.S., was strangely beautiful.

The wildlife was the thing.  The Lamar Valley was instantly recognizable from PBS Nature shows.  It is a true wilderness, sliced through by a road that allows one to view the animals with minimal impact on their lives.  It was the birthing season and the valley was alive with Bison calves known as Red Dogs.  We also saw the harsh side, when we came across a calf next to its dead mother, a certain meal for a wolf.

Bison mothers and calves

Bison mothers and calves

We also got a chance to visit friends Connie and Frank Madia who spend the summers serving as camp hosts in the Indian Creek Campground.  They had an American Dipper family at the entrance bridge and we spent at least an hour watching as the parents came and went on the rushing stream with food for their chicks.  We located a pair of Trumpeter Swans  along the banks of the Madison River.  These Swans have come back from near extinction and the Park has high hopes they will nest along the river.

High hopes that this pair will nest here.

This pair may return nesting Trumpeter Swans to Yellowstone.

We had a close encounter with a Black Bear and her three cubs when we encountered them in a grassy glen about 30 feet off the trail on the Roosevelt Lost Lake hike.  All ended well when we backed gingerly away and bushwacked around the area, giving them their privacy.  This was for me the highlight of the trip.

The wildflowers were lovely.  I saw an exquisite little orchid I didn’t recognize on the Lost Lake hike which I later identified as a Fairy Slipper Orchid (Calypso bulbosa).

Fairy Slipper Orchids along the Lost Lake Trail.

Fairy Slipper Orchids along the Lost Lake Trail.

Not all the wildlife was truly wild.  We did not feed this friendly Raven but clearly someone has been.

Not all the wildlife was truly wild. We did not feed this friendly Raven but clearly someone has been.

Advertisements

4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Carla said,

    Love your pictures. Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

    Like

  2. 2

    We did have a great time. It was great to see Connie and Frank and the weather was perfect.

    Like

  3. 3

    Marjorie said,

    I have fond memories of Yellowstone and Grand Tetons and your pictures were rewarding to see. Watching the dipper family would have thrilled me and of course, seeing the bison and their red dogs reminded me of our memorable Montana trip.

    Like

  4. 4

    Thanks, Marjorie. We did have a great time, didn’t we.

    Like


Comment RSS · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: