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Yellowstone Up Close and Personal

29 - 31 May 2009 Trip Report

Trip Report ~ by Bill Hamblin

Wolves near Canyon by John William Uhler © Copyright All Rights Reserved

~ May 2009 ~

Mount Haynes by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

Friday - 29 May 2009

I did get caught up enough at work to leave by noon. Still not a lot of traffic and arrived at Antelope Creek before 4:00 PM. Located a grizzly courting pair across on the backside of Specimen Ridge. Luke and Mayleea were up at Antelope Creek. While heading towards Lamar found the grizzly sow with one yearling still on the middle ridge south of Slough Creek bathroom. That was it for grizzlies, I spent the rest of the evening in Lamar with nothing. Had a black bear south of YES pullout. Calvin and Lynette found three black wolves moving east from Midpoint. And a black bear south of Long Pullout in Little America near dark. The badger with four little ones still at Boulder. The rangers finally put up signs so the photographers have to stay at the road, not right over the den. All of the rivers, Madison, Gibbon and especially the Lamar are really high right now. The water is flooding the area where the outhouse was at in the old Lamar Picnic Area. The beaver is north of the road at the confluence, like every year about this time. The new osprey nest in the canyon at Lamar West fell into the river. The eagles are finally on the next between Madison and West Yellowstone, seems too late to me. The main osprey nest still has no eggs, but the one across from the peregrine nest has at least one. The bighorn have lambed at Calcite, had three of the four ewes I saw had lambs. Weather was nice, low around 31 and highs near 70. Richard and Rita from Nebraska had to leave as did Mike from Illinois (bear watchers down now). But Roger and Kaye from northern Idaho came in for a week or so.

Saturday - 30 May 2009

The morning started really slow with nothing up and down the valley. Missed the one wolf that crossed near Hitching Post. Around 6:30 AM found a courting pair of grizzlies and the grizzly sow with one yearling south in Crystal Drainage on the middle high clearings. The grizzly sow with yearling appeared to have been on a elk calf carcass. The sow of the courting pair wasn't too hot on the boar, and we had several chases that lasted for over 20 minutes and covered over 1/2 mile high on the skyline ending up over on Specimen Ridge. Later the limping grizzly was found in the low clearings back near the tree line. He is getting along really well and entertained himself by laying on his back watching his legs swing in the air. At 9:00 AM found the only wolf for the day south of the Institute. In late morning had a tall looking black bear south of midpoint and a black bear south of the old Lamar picnic area. Ralph cooked hot dogs for lunch, I brought potato clips. A big black bear jam near Antelope Creek between the old bathroom pullout and gut road, less than 20 yards off the road, jams going up and later coming down from Dunraven. Had three grizzlies on the backside of Specimen between 5:00 and 6:30 PM. I never found any of them, except the first one went only the ridge, and I found him when it returned (was running quite a bit, and probably was the limping bear - he runs better than he walks). Back in Lamar for the evening. 6:30 PM found a large grizzly south of the Institute, came north and crossed several of the river channels before being wildly chased by a bull bison, boy can large grizzlies run when a 2000 pound bull bison is mad. Had black bears east of A-Z meadow, east of Jasper Bench and south of Coyote Overlook as well as a nice sized cinnamon bear south of Coyote during the evening.

Old Faithful Eruption and Buffalo by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

Sunday - 31 May 2009

Just before light had six black wolves north of Coyote Overlook less than 100 yards off the road. Doug M. was out and verified the sighting. One large wolf jam for the next hour. They disappeared but still in the area. Jim B. from Iowa located another black wolf who turned out to be the Jasper male. This male and sometimes a gray female and an unidentified black wolf have been living in Druid territory for 3-4 years, in fact Rick hadn't seen him in about 2 months. There has been a courting pair of grizzlies north of the road from Coyote for the last 3 - 4 days according to Ralph, and I at least saw the boar this morning for a minute or so. Meanwhile Ralph found another wolf south of the Institute and made a nice spot on a grizzly with one coy really far back south of the Institute (my guess 3 - 3 1/2 miles). It was in some bare ground and the cub liked to play in the few remaining snow banks, so nice watching. Margaret found a black bear and yearly cub on Ski Slope. And during the slow times, we watched the coyote den behind the Institute, nine puppies for sure this a.m. Weather is turning to summer weather, appears the grizzlies out only for the morning and late evening.

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