Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Barking up the wrong tree, or, who I would stalk if I was a gay man . . .

Alistair Appleton of the BBC's Cash in the Attic

HGTV's Design Star winner David Bromstad


Today is Hanna's 7th Birthday! Even though I adopted her from a rescue group, I have her AKC papers, and hence, her birth date. (She was born in Missouri).
Our 5th anniversary will be this May - she came to live with me when she was 15 months old, and she was very, very wild. A family in Bell, California had the unfortunate habit of adopting a cute puppy from a pet store, failing to train the puppy, then turning it in to a rescue group when it was an unwieldy adult. Prior to Hanna, they had done the same thing with a German Shephard and a Cocker Spaniel. We had a rough start, but she is my buddy and my baby now. So, Happy Birthday, Nanners!!!

Here she celebrates with a morning "greenie".


One final salute to Yellowstone (at least for now), as we were walking down the trail to the Boiling River, a couple of bison came up from the river's edge . . . and then the rest of the cow/calf herd joined them.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

The area around Mammoth Hot Springs is rather other worldly in appearance. . .

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There were also lots of bison and elk in the Park.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

In the trees around photographer, Dan Hartman's studio, we spotted this Keller Jay (top photo) and a Pygmy Owl that had killed a Rosy Finch. The prey is nearly as big as the predator . . .

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Across the road from a river
where otters and beaver had been spotted, this golden eagle was resting on a log near some bighorn sheep.

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The Druids hanging about on the top of a ridge bordering the Lamar Valley.

These photos are taken at a great distance, sometimes using my camera and a Swarovski scope.

We came out, along with many other wolf watchers, to view the Slough Creek Pack. At least 10 members of the Pack were in the area, but most of them were up on the hill, bedded down, after feeding on the carcass of what we believe was a bison calf. One black wolf ventured back to feed some more. Here it is, along with many, many ravens.

He (I'm not sure why I tend to identify the wildlife as a "he") later trotted off across the plain and into the hills.

The bison herd later came by to check out the carcass, much to the chagrine of the coyotes feeding on the wolves' kill.

Friday, February 23, 2007

For all of you worried I may be done with my never ending vacation updates, your prayers have been answered, and tomorrow's post will include:

The Slough Creek Pack!

More Druid Peak Pack!

Elks, Bison and Bighorn Sheep!

The Mammoth Hot Springs!


To tide you over . . . me, snowshoeing.

A coyote - the former top dogs of Yellowstone - running up the hillside.

The last photo is in the Lamar Valley. The coyotes were not only awaiting their opportunity to feed at the elk carcass, there were 2 males and a female engaging in a bit of courtship. When a male would approach, she would avert her tail to allow the male a good sniff. This male was skulking off - at least temporarily.

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The reason there was so much activity that day in Lamar Valley was because of the Druid Peak Pack's kill of an elk in the early morning. The carcass was too near the road to allow the pack (and other animals) to come feed safely, (except for the ravens and magpies), so the Park Rangers dragged it farther into the valley. The carcass attracted coyotes, wolves, fox, and even a bald eagle.
This wolf is an adult member of the Druid PeakPack. The Pack includes 4 youngsters, who engage in pretty much never ending wrestling sessions. One of the adult male members of this Pack is Wolf 302 - the brother of the Alpha Male. Because 302 has little chance to breed in the Druid Peak Pack, he had been observed roaming far and wide, and according to the regular wolf watchers (people who are out with scopes 365 days/year), he likely was successful. He also managed to badly injure one of his hind legs, but was still getting around pretty well. (302 is a collared wolf, and can be monitorred by radio as well as observation.) It was unclear if he had returned to the Druids or was still on his own. According to those in the know, the injury would likely not be life threatening, and he would be welcomed back into the Pack when he chooses to re-join them.

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While in the Lamar Valley, we had a "Three Dog Day" - meaning we spotted and watched wolves, coyotes and foxes. In each case, I was able to observe one of each "pouncing" on a mouse or vole it could hear under the snow. Seeing the pounce, you can't help but giggle in glee - it is one of the cutest things I've ever seen. Here are some photos of the foxes - though none of them pouncing!

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The weather was really pretty good. The temperature varied from about 10 - 11 degrees to the mid-20s. As you can see, it's not exactly bikini weather . . .
This is the Lamar Valley - home of the Druid Pack - and sometimes referred to as the Serengeti of North America because of the diverse wildlife present there.


Sunrise in Yellowstone . . . .

I took this photo from a park along the Yellowstone River off the road from Bozeman, Montana to Gardiner, Montana.

This is the view from my hotel room in Gardiner. Not surprisigly, this is the Gardiner River.

Gardiner is one of the "gateways" to Yellowstone, and the site of the Roosevelt Arch. Bison and other animals frequently come through the Arch, and in to the town.

Hanna is a bit needy today, but happy to have me home.