Yellowstone with Melinda & Shanna pt 3

Sunday May 20th

Now this was a tricky morning, we wanted to be out by the wolf den for the sunrise. In May that means earlier than the crack of dawn. I think we were up and moving around 4:30 and out by 5:00 a.m. Well, we got outside and there was mist and fog. Heading out we found fabulous views but no luck on the wolves. The den site was swathed in clouds. Instead of waiting there we drove out towards the north east entrance and Cooke City.

I was unable to get photos, but we saw baby bison racing away and then back to their moms, AND the car got into a contest with a young male bison who was NOT going to let us pass. He headed straight for us, not charging but walking with intent to rule. Just as I thought he really was going to hit the car he veered off. PHEW.

Morning
_JLS3067

The mountain range here usually hosts mountain goats. Luckily they decided to show up. Fluffy white spots on the mountain looking for all the world like snow patches. You have to use binoculars and/or scopes to really see them. Mountain goats _JLS3118

White crowned sparrow
_JLS3125 _JLS3131

Another lucky thing was that Dunraven Pass which was expected to be closed was open so we drove over the towering or shall I say harrowing mountain pass. I’ve been on this pass before but rarely do I drive from the north to south. I didn’t realize how much scarier it would be when I was the one driving on the edges. This route did take us right up to a grizzly bear though. There was a bear jam and we weren’t expecting to see anything when suddently 10 feet from the car up the hill on the passenger’s side comes this great monster of a bear ambling by. No pictures, but so very, very, very. Considering how few birds we saw in Yellowstone that day we paused and birded at Henry’s Lake in Island Park on the way home. Adding that to birding all the way home we did see more species on this day than any other.

Osprey
_JLS3187

View of the Tetons on the way home _JLS3221

Gregory, happy to be home
IMG_0897

Birds:
1 American robin
2 Dark eyed junco (oregon)
3 Mallards
4 Coots
5 Ruddy ducks
6 Red winged blackbirds
7 Yellow headed blackbirds
8 Canada geese
9 Macgillivray’s warbler
10 Yellow warbler
11 Cassin’s finch
12 Common raven
13 Killdeer
14 Cliff swallows
15 Vesper sparrow
16 Horned larks
17 Black billed magpie
18 American kestrel
19 Brewer’s blackbird
20 Red crossbill
21 Pine grosbeak
22 White crowned sparrow
23 Townsend’s warbler
24 Barn swallows
25 Western meadowlark
26 Mountain chickadee
27 Violet green swallows
28 Clark’s nutcracker
29 Osprey
30 Black capped chickadee
31 Chipping sparrow
32 Mountain bluebird
33 American white pelicans
34 Common merganser
35 California gulls
36 Ring billed gulls
37 Brown headed cowbirds
38 Spotted sandpiper
39 Tree swallows
40 Golden crowned kinglet
41 Cinnamon teal
42 Trumpeter swans
43 Ring necked ducks
44 White faced ibis
45 American wigeon
46 Blue winged teals
47 American crows
48 Red tailed hawk (immature)
49 Western kingbird
50 European starling
51 Mourning doves
52 Rock doves

Mammals
1 Mule deer
2 Plains bison
Baby bison running
Aggressive bison
3 Elk
4 Not sandhill crane but coyote this time
5 Pronghorn
6 Uinta ground squirrels
7 Mountain goats
8 Grizzly bear
9 Golden mantled ground squirrel

Lastly, it was a wet winter and a very wet spring, there was water running everywhere.  I’ve never seen so much water in Yellowstone. – Jenny


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