Sunday, October 21, 2007

More Wildlife--Yellowstone

In spite of the near disaster with the elk, our main goal in our visit to Yellowstone was to see as much wildlife as possible. I am not sure if we were simply very lucky, or if this is a typical roster of animals seen during a visit to the park, but we were delighted to see so many!

We saw bison the first night in the park--really the first we had seen. Up to our entering the part, we had see more cows than we ever thought possible, and the cows were simply everywhere. We also saw small herds of pronghorn antelope all over the west. I had never seen one in person except in zoos, so this was a big thrill.

Once in the park, however, we realized there was a trick to wildlife viewing: If there are cars pulled over, there is likely something to see. One of the best things we saw--and the photos don't really show this well at all--was a coyote preparing to pounce on, and then actually pouncing on, and then looking up, right at us, and munching on a small bit of prey. This photo is a reminder that I need a telephoto lens...

I know that Yellowstone is known for its bears, so we expected to see them everywhere in the park. We did not see any in the campsite, as we have in other parks (in Algonquin when I was 12, we had to chase the black bears out of our campsite with flaming sticks from the fire!). Instead, we heard rumors of bears, and followed up on them. The most interesting rumor was of a grizzly sow (female bear) with four cubs. Typically, a bear has two cubs, occasionally three. 4 cubs is rare, even among black bears, but it was most unusual for grizzlies. The chatter at the park suggested that she might have adopted the smaller cubs. Either way, we saw her! She was well below us on a hill,and followed closely by two cubs, with two others trailing a bit behind. While we only got a few good photos, we did manage to catch momma and one cub fairly well. Yet another reminder that I need a better lens. Can you see them in this photo? Their heads are behind trees, but you can make out the backs of both bears.


MaryM said...

Honestly, you were really lucky to see the bears. At one time they were a common sight and they are still there but to actually see them in recent times has not been so common. I haven't seen a bear there in probably 25 years but my dad has seen some each of the past two years (black bear lst year - grizzly this year), so maybe they are seeing more. And he has been there both times in September. It seems Sept./Oct. are better times to see more wildlife. I know you thought it was really busy there, but you missed the "busy" season for tourists! Last time we went was in October - we saw wolves then which I know you didn't get to see. In general the other animals you saw would be pretty common in the amounts you saw. Moose are also pretty elusive so I'm not surprised you didn't see any.

Alice Gunther said...

FOUR cubs! Amazing!

I loved the story about chasing the bears from the campsite with flames. You have led an interesting life.