Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

This morning was to be an attempt to get to Soda Butte to see or hear the wolves of the Druid pack. I left at 5:30 and without traffic I arrive around 6:30 at Soda Butte. Unfortunately, the adults had already left. I was treated with the howling of the pups around 8:00am.

While waiting for something to happen, I was treated to seeing several pronghorn run around. By about 8:30 I decided it was time to go and a lot of the wolf watchers were doing the same.

I stopped at the outhouse by what I call the hitching post about a ½ mile from the main pull out for the Druids, and was rewarded with seeing a golden eagle. Unfortunately, the pictures are less than stunning.

I went on back toward Roosevelt and was reward with a small contingent of people on the side of the road. They had seen a badger and her cubs. They are on the north side of the road about 100 meters east of the Rangeland Enclosure wayside exhibit, approximately 1 mile west of the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte.

I was excited as this was the first time I have ever seen a live wild badger, let alone at least four.

I headed on to Roosevelt without incident. From there I decide to go to Petrified Tree and look for the momma and cub. When I came out there they were on the hill directly in front of the junction with the Petrified Tree road. They headed to the west and I decided that there may be another vantage and did get some longer range shots before I had to go.

I met up with Bill and Sue from Massachusetts for my interview for the video. I had a great time visiting and enjoyed giving them my thoughts on why I love Yellowstone so much. Good luck to them with the video.

I then headed back to the badgers to see about getting the 600mm in action. I think I was rewarded with some fine shots. I did have lunch in the turn out before walking down to spy on them and did see momma cross the road twice with ground squirrels both time.

From here I decided to head on to Gardiner for some cell phone signal to check in. Below Gardiner there was construction and after yesterday at Gibbon Falls, I decided no way. So I headed toward Norris.

Just past the upper terrace drive there was a small bear jam for a small cinnamon bear, but it disappeared below the crest before I could get any shots.

Nothing much in the way of wildlife all the way to Norris, and the same was true on the way to Canyon and further on the way to Fishing Bridge where I had dinner at the general store. After dinner I went to Lake Butte Overlook for cell signal and the check in.

I had decided at dinner that I needed to be on Washburn this evening for bears and maybe wolves, but crossing Fishing Bridge I thought I saw an otter, so I thought I otter stop. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an otter, but it was a beaver. I think I got some pretty good shots of her, I think it was a her as she was preening.

On the way to Washburn at the turn off for the Brink of the Upper Falls, there was a good size jam for a nice looking grizzly. Unfortunately, by time I set up the 600mm, it decided to leave, at least so I thought. The jam broke up and it came back out of the undergrowth into the clearing for a couple of minutes, but then a returning trail ride came through and scared it away.

On to Washburn, where I thought it was going to be a bust until on the way back after the sun set on the northwest side, there was a nice looking grizzly on the side of the mountain, but we will have to see how the shots turned out, because I needed to shoot at ISO800 and even then the shutter was pretty slow.

By the way, the mosquitos have finally emerged and they were everywhere tonight.

Tomorrow I head up to Great Falls to meet up with Dori and head on to Glacier National Park for the weekend.

I hope to see you under the Western Skies.

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