As usual I work on getting wolf photos the day after winter study ends. So on the 16th I was out at dawn. Coyotes seemed to be everywhere. Especially the little family in Round Prairie who I watched mouse for awhile. A bald eagle perched near Footbridge and a bull moose browsed at Elk Creek. Otherwise I saw only bison and elk.
17th Today I combined looking for wolves with Christmas shopping in Bozeman. Cindy, Kelly and I left the cabin at dawn and passed through a very quiet Lamar Valley. In Lamar Canyon I spotted a tiny pygmy owl perched atop a snag. Near Floating Island, a northern shrike flew in to perch just beside the road. North of the park, eagles were everywhere.
18th As I passed by Warm Creek in the gloomy light of dawn, I made out a pygmy owl perched above the highway. Just past Soda Butte Cone, the wolf people were parked on the curve, flashers going. The Lamars had a kill out in the willows. I moved to where I thought I might view them crossing the road. Soon two pups approached and milled around the road a bit before moving on. This gave me a first hand look at what mange had done to the pack. Not only were their coats in tatters, but they had a defeated demeaner. I took a few shots and headed home.
20th Once again I combined a trip to town with looking for wolves. A marten at the cabin stalled us a bit. We knew a marten was visiting us nightly because of tracks but we had only seen him in daylight a couple of times.
On our way finally, we came upon a cow and calf moose at Lower Barronette. At the west end of Round Prairie, a beaver floated in the Soda Butte. The Lamars had a new kill just east of Soda Butte Cone. Half a dozen coyotes moused near the road sides. Up north I got some great shots of an eagle on a carcass. As we returned home a fox moused near Mammoth. At one point he held up his catch as if to show it to me.
My daughter Cassie and her husband drove in from Pennsylvania for a weeks visit, so I cut my wolf week short. I really didn't get a new wolf print but did get one good opportunity. That's all one can ask for.
Hey folks, it's Yellowstone! There's a lot more to look for than just wolves! Fox and coyotes are abundant. Moose and eagles are good photographic subjects. I found three pygmy owls in one weeks time and you'll never know when an ermine or marten might appear. I didn't even mention the bighorn rams and mule deer bucks on the inside road to Corwin Springs.