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Yellowstone Up Close and Personal

19 - 21 June 2009 Trip Report

Trip Report ~ by Bill Hamblin

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

~ June 2009 ~

Mount Haynes by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

Friday - 19 June 2009

Summer has finally hit, lots of traffic and all the campgrounds are full. I managed to locate a colorful grizzly in 10-4 about 4:15 PM. Ralph soon showed me two separate grizzlies on the backside of Specimen Ridge. We have found more grizzlies on the backside of Specimen Ridge so far this year, then all of last year. That was the last grizzly for the evening. There was a big black bear jam just north of Antelope Creek and south of the Gut Road exit. I then spotted a black bear south of the institute about 8:00 PM. A black bear with two cubs of the year (coys) west of wolf #9's old den area about 9:00 PM. At 9:15 PM, we had a black bear walking across the Yellowstone River Bridge.

Saturday - 20 June 2009

Warm in the AM with clouds moving in this morning. I found a grizzly in the big clearing behind Jasper Bench and south and east of Coyote Overlook at 5:15 AM. At 5:30 AM Ralph had howling south and east of the Institute, turned out to be four black and one gray of the Druid wolves. They were out for quite a while. I also found the old Slough male on Jasper Bench. Had it for 1 1/2 hours, bedded most of the time and only moved about 10 yards (it's a black wolf, easier to see). About 9:50 AM we spotted a large grizzly in the bowl south and west of the institute. At 10:30 AM the limping grizzly was spotted swimming in Boulder Lake. We then moved east and we saw him south of Aspen Pullout. I found a courting pair of black bears on 10-4 about 4:00 PM. Later near 5:30 PM, I found the colorful grizzly in the same clearing at 10-4 as Friday night. From 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM we had a rain shower with little viability. After the shower the viability got really good. Brent from Utah found a grizzly on a elk calf carcass (we think) back in par # 3. And Ralph had three separate grizzlies on the backside of Specimen Ridge.

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

Sunday - 14 June 2009

There was rain late in the night until about day light. Warm about 47 degrees in the morning. At 5:13 AM, I found the Slough male south of the Institute moving east. Ralph found a large grizzly in the bowl. At 8:50 AM I saw a grizzly standing up and running north of the Old Lamar Picnic area, I called Ralph but it was out of sight. Then another grizzly and a third came out, met and played for two minutes and then disappeared. Have no idea of the relationships, but all small bears, maybe sub-adults that briefly recognized each other. At 10:18 AM I spotted another large grizzly in the bowl. And finally at Antelope Creek I watched two separate grizzlies and a courting pair of grizzlies on the backside of Specimen Ridge.

Other News

Ed and his family was up from Utah. Becky and Chloe from Montana are in for a couple weeks. Brian from Oregon is back for a month or so. Ralph had a new great horned owl nest near the Tower Store on Friday, but they fledged by Saturday (I never saw them). The great gray is still at Phantom Lake. The great horned owls and chicks have fledged at Mammoth, but still in the trees near the Visitor Center. The wolf people have been seeing puppies from Footbridge (three grays and two blacks) (multiply litters, but all seen to date appear to be about the same size - expect that more to be seen as the second breeding was later than the alpha's). A moose with calf in the Antelope Creek drainage above Tower going to Canyon (I didn't see them). The new bald eagle nest near Peregrine has at least two large chicks in a huge nest (6-8 feet minimum). The grizzly family groups are getting scarce. The one at Slough hasn't been seen since last weekend. The grizzly with one coy and grizzly with one yearling only a few days ago. Nice to see your neighbor Boyd and his son Scott in Lamar this morning. Sounds like they got nice shots of the great gray owl, ruddy ducks, the bighorn ram at Yellowstone Picnic area, and the ewes and lambs at Calcite. A new coyote den south of the old Lamar Picnic area.

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