Yellowstone Up Close and Personal
02 - 05 July 2009 Trip Report
Trip Report ~ by Bill Hamblin
~ July 2009 ~
Thursday - 02 July 2009
I didn't get out of work until 5:00 p.m. But by 8:00 p.m. I found a courting pair of grizzlies across from the big rock pullout just north of Dunraven Pass. Scar Face was out below Mae West pullout. Next, I found a black bear crossed the clearing behind the fox ridge. And finally at 8:40 p.m. I spotted a pair of sub adult grizzlies wrestling on the back side of Specimen Ridge. The weekend had nice weather. A few showers in the evening, highs in the 60's and lows from 38-50 in the a.m.
Friday - 03 July 2009
Ralph has been having good action on Antelope Creek, so I started there in the a.m. Cloud cover allowed me to find a grizzly on the backside of Specimen Ridge about 6:15 a.m. At 6:30 a.m. I found a grizzly sow with one cub of the year (coy) in # 3 in the 10-4 clearing (they were out for over an hour). At 7:10 a.m. Ralph called having a young grizzly high above the big rock pullout up Dunraven. Three hikers went about 100 yards below the grizzly on the Mt. Washburn trail, the grizzly noticed, the hikers didn't. At 8:45 a.m. Ralph found a grizzly high and left of the 10-4 meadows. At 9:30 a.m. Ralph located the courting pair of grizzlies back across the clearing from last night. The boar ended up being collared, and once they were playing in a snow bank, and the boar pushed the sow down and off the snow. Still a little snow up high, the Cittenden Road just opened up last weekend for the year, and the Blacktail one way road opened this weekend.
I spent the afternoon in Lamar Valley. During the last two weeks four different bison have died in Lamar, between Cache Creek and the old Lamar Picnic area (at least two were cows). Anyway the newest carcass was pretty much gone (had six to seven grizzlies on it in the morning), and I still had three different grizzlies in the area from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. I did find two grizzlies playing on A-Z meadow, viewed from Trashcan, guessing a sow and large cub or two sub adults, not enough good light to tell. At 5:00 p.m. I headed to Hellroaring (Marshall and Linda had been seeing a grizzly sow with three coy's from upper Hellroaring - even had them swimming in the pond just right (east) of Hellroaring Creek). I had a black bear jam at the Yellowstone Picnic area, another black bear at Floating Island Lake. I then spotted a black bear near upper Hellroaring, then another black bear and later a cinnamon black bear from Hellroaring Overlook; but no grizzly with coy's. I returned to Lamar for the evening, now four grizzlies across from picnic area down to south of the Institute. 480M, the alpha male of Druid's made brief appearance south of picnic area. Near dark found a grizzly with one coy in the bowl SW of the Institute. Had a fox try and run under my car at Calcite about 9:30 p.m. - made my THREE DOG DAY.
Saturday - 04 July 2009
Zero at Antelope Creek all the way to Dunraven. Headed for Lamar about 6:00 a.m. I spotted two black bears close to each other and closer to the road at Rainly Lake. At 6:40 a.m. the grizzly sow with one coy was high in A-Z Meadow. One grizzly in the old rendezvous area. About 11:00 a.m. I found a jam up at Antelope Creek, a nice blond grizzly in Honeymoon (just the second grizzly at Antelope Creek all year, except for Scar Face this week and last). At 3:20 p.m. I spotted a black bear with two coy's close to Specimen Ridge viewed from Long Pullout. Next I found a black bear in the tree line at the rendevous area. At 4:30 p.m. I saw a gray mangely wolf come to the newest (just today) bison carcass south of picnic area.
I spotted two bison calves who found each other, and staying together -- without mom's milk, not sure they can make it, but still living and looking pretty good. 5:00 p.m. I saw a cinnamon black bear in tree line south of Institite. At 6:15 p.m. I returned to Hellroaring but only found a courting pair of grizzlies high and far away. Strange year, a grizzly at Rainly Lake at 7:00 p.m. (it was in Tower Creek, just below the entrance to the campground earlier in the day). From 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. three different grizzlies on Roof Top/backside of Specimen Ridge. And finally I spotted a cinnamon bear in the salt lick below #57 pullout.
Sunday - 05 July 2009
I didn't think that there was much left on the newest bison carcass south of picnic, but was delighted to see three grizzlies about 5:00 a.m. One large grizzly was on the carcass, one on the way to the trees and one half the size of the large one, waiting it's turn. Ralph found a grizzly way high and left of 10-4 and then a roadside grizzly above there (the same light brown grizzly as last weekend--out for about 1 hour).
Druids still at 14 adults and a least 9 pups, should be crossing the road this week or next (crossed last year on the 15th). Still 5 pups at Blacktail at the S curve (near where Leopold use to den)- Blacktail pack, 302's. Report of one black pup with the Canyon Pack (remember denning outside of Mammoth), been seen across from the grizzly overlook in Hayden. The osprey near the peregrine nest has now failed.
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