Yellowstone National Park 2014 Trip Reports
Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Bill Hamblin
13 through 20 July 2014
~ July 2014 ~
Sunday - 13 July
I left Idaho Falls around 3:00 a.m. and made good time with little or no traffic. 42 degrees at Antelope Creek and warming up to a warm 85 degrees today. I stayed this entire trip in Tower Campground in campsite # 1 (really quiet site, but hot in the sun so not so good for mid-day naps). A new bison carcass .5 mile west of the Canyon Junction had not been opened up by predators yet. At 6:40 a.m. I spotted a grizzly grazing low in Honeymoon Clearing in Antelope Creek. At 6:50 a.m. I found a black bear on #1 opening viewed from Antelope Creek. At 7:30 a.m. I found Scarface grazing high west of the road in Antelope Creek (had to go down to the Rock Pullout between T-58 and T-57 to see the old guy. At 9:00 a.m. I spotted a grizzly high in the bowl viewed from the Institute, who played in the snow which is really disappearing now. At 10:15 a.m. we had a small grizzly grazing in K Meadow. At 2:30 p.m. I found a cinnamon black bear near Pebble Creek Campground. At 8:50 p.m. my last sighting was the grizzly sow with one yearling cub on the Par # 5 in Antelope Creek.
Monday - 14 July
44 degrees this morning warming up to a nice 75 degrees. A rare sight today, as a vulture flew over and then landed on the new bison carcass west of Canyon (the carcass had been opened up during the night). At 6:15 a.m. I found a grizzly south and west in Alum Creek. At 7:00 a.m. we had a black uncollared wolf visited the new bison carcass west of Canyon (it visited, but did not eat on it). At 3:00 p.m. a large grizzly came to the new bison carcass west of Canyon (he had two ear tags, one in each ear, viewed only from the rear of the ears-no silver hairs around the midsection). Today was also a THREE DOG DAY.
Tuesday - 15 July
50 degrees this morning warming up to 67 degrees. Two golden eagles high in the rocks down the road to Slough Creek, and a nighthawk flying across the road in Little America. At 4:41 a.m. I found a cinnamon black bear in the road near T-57 in Antelope Creek. At 5:20 a.m. I spotted a large grizzly on the new bison carcass west of Canyon, visiting only 15 minutes before he got nervous about all the people on the road watching him. The carcass was about 220 yards off the road, and this grizzly was bigger and had the silver hairs around his midsection/kind of the "Yellowstone Circle". At 6:15 a.m. we had a cinnamon black bear on the road near Chittenden Bridge close to Hayden Valley. At 6:45 a.m. we watched Scarface in Antelope Creek down in the bottoms below T-58. At 7:00 a.m. we had a grizzly low on Honeymoon Clearing in Antelope Creek. At 7:15 a.m. I found a black bear just off the road on the west end of Straight-away in Little America. At 10:40 a.m. we had a grizzly on # 2 finger of Norris. At 5:20 p.m. the grizzly sow with one coy was on the top of A-Z Meadow. At 5:35 p.m. I spotted a black bear in No Bear Meadow viewed from the Institute.
Wednesday - 16 July
52 degrees this morning warming up to a hot 79 degrees. A badger crossed the road near Dorothy's Knoll and I viewed Ruddy Duck chicks at Floating Island Pond. At 6:15 a.m. we had 911M and the three year old black Junction Butte wolf south and east of Dorothy's. At 6:30 a.m. we had the grizzly sow with one coy in A-Z Meadow. At 8:20 a.m. I found a large black bear on K-2 Meadow viewed from Footbridge. At 8:25 a.m. we watched a colorful grizzly on # 2 finger of Norris. At 9:00 a.m. a gray uncollared Junction Butte male wolf in the old Druid rendezvous area. At 10:50 a.m. we had a black bear at the Yellowstone River Bridge. At 11:40 a.m. the black bear sow with three cubs at Rainy Lake (as I arrived the sow was in the lake swimming, and the three cubs crossed the road hurrying up a tree just off the road - those cubs are still really small). At 3:30 p.m. we had a small black bear at Rainy Lake. At 9:00 p.m. I found a grizzly on a new bison carcass south and east of Dorothy's Knoll (a little better view from the Institute). Also at 9:00 p.m. 911M and the three year old black female from the Junction Butte pack arrived at the carcass. A mystery: we watched the two wolves near the carcass in the morning, but no one noticed the carcass. The wolves must have left the carcass before we spotted the wolves. When the wolves came to the carcass, all we could see was something dark in the grass/then the grizzly stood up (where it came from or how long it was there is another mystery). When the grizzly charged the wolves we could see it was a bison carcass.
Thursday - 17 July
40 degrees this morning warming up to 73 degrees. Smokey today made long viewing a problem (could not see anything on the backside of Specimen today). The hills are drying out, the grass is really high and the yellow flowers are on all the hills now - pretty but not much help in viewing wildlife. At 5:25 a.m. I spotted a grizzly on the new bison carcass south of east of Dorothy's Knoll. At 5:30 a.m. I found a grizzly on the bench south of the Institute heading east (not sure, but it could had been leaving the carcass). At 6:10 a.m. the grizzly sow with one coy was high in the A-Z Meadow. At 6:30 a.m. the black Junction Butte three year old female and then 911M came to the new bison carcass after the grizzly had left the area. At 7:25 a.m. I spotted a small colorful grizzly on the # 1 finger of Norris. At 8:00 a.m. I found a black bear in a small clearing near Ski Slope viewed from Dorothy's Knoll. At 12:55 p.m. the black bear sow with one black and one brown cub .5 mile south of the Tower Campground exit (not the best place/they were in the creek corridor and what a bear jam). At 5:00 p.m. we had a black bear in the tree line behind Jasper Bench. At 7:00 p.m. I spotted a black bear in A-Z Meadow.
Friday - 18 July
46 degrees this morning warming up to 79 degrees. I saw two baby flying squirrels near Silver Gate, Coot and Ruddy Duck chicks and seven American Avocets in Floating Island Lake today. At 5:25 a.m. I spotted a dark grizzly leaving the carcass SE of Dorothy's heading south. At 5:40 a.m. I found a second grizzly leaving the carcass SE of Dorothy's heading east. At 5:41 a.m. as the second grizzly got 20 yards off the carcass a third grizzly came to the carcass. At 6:00 a.m. the grizzly sow with one coy was high east of A-Z Meadow. At 6:15 a.m. I was heading east when a large tall grizzly crossed the road near the Institute heading for the carcass which the third grizzly was still on (the carcass was spread out this morning indicating that there wasn't much left on the carcass). At 4:00 p.m. we had a black bear south of Long Pullout in Little America. At 4:45 p.m. a black bear comes down from the rocks at Floating Island Pond to cool off in the pond. At 6:50 p.m. we watched a large brown grizzly in the Antelope Creek Bottoms in view for two hours.
Saturday - 19 July
46 degrees warming up to 75 degrees/smokey again today with long viewing a problem. I had two different foxes in the road near the Tower Store this morning, but never saw a coyote today. At 5:40 a.m. I spotted a grizzly high east of A-Z Meadow who was viewed a little later as it moved into the Bowl viewed from the Institute. At 5:45 a.m. we had a grizzly south of Fisherman's Pullout who swam the river then crossed the road though all the cars going north. At 6:10 a.m. I found a small grizzly north and east of Coyote Overlook. At 7:00 a.m. I spotted a large brown grizzly low and right in Honeymoon Clearing viewed from Antelope Creek. At 7:40 a.m. four of the five Canyon wolves viewed west and south in Alum Creek (actually all five were there, I only saw 4 of 5). At 10:40 a.m. Scarface creating a bear jam at the curve at Chittenden Road. At 7:40 p.m. we had a cinnamon black bear at Pebble Creek. At 8:30 p.m. Jeremy S. found a small grizzly below K-Meadow viewed from Footbridge Pullout.
Sunday - 20 July
44 degrees this morning warming up to a hot 86 degrees. A male Blue Grouse (now called a Dusty) strutting in the middle of the road at Antelope Creek. At the bison carcass west of Canyon the Bear Management guy was telling me that the new grizzly numbers are 700 grizzlies in Yellowstone (home ranges entirely or partially in YNP, and 1200 in the ecosystem)(with the park newspaper last year listing 150 grizzlies in YNP and not in the paper but the figure of 600-800 in the ecosystem - I think the new numbers are closer to the actual numbers, but question if this information has anything to do with the de-listing of the Grizzlies scheduled for this fall). The park was clear again today with no smoke in the area. At 6:15 a.m. I spotted a black bear south of Dorothy's Knoll below Jasper Bench. At 6:45 a.m. I found a cinnamon black bear south of Coyote Overlook just across the river. At 7:00 a.m. 870F the alpha female of the Junction Butte pack south of the Institute. At 2:15 p.m. the black bear sow with three cubs cross the road at Rainy Lake with the sow again swimming to cool off and the cubs staying on the dry land. At 6:00 p.m. we had a cinnamon black bear in Round Prairie. At 7:30 p.m. the black bear with one black and one brown cub in a big bear jam 1.5 miles south of Tower Campground Exit. I was almost skunked today on grizzlies, but at 9:10 p.m. I found the grizzly sow with one yearling up on the Par # 4 at Antelope Creek.
All three of the peregrine falcon chicks are getting dark and huge and roaring away from the nest in search of shade. The osprey chicks at the peregrine pullout and at Lamar Canyon West are getting big. Both red tail hawk chicks are getting large and dark brown. They repainted the white and yellow lines on the roads in Lamar Valley helping with the night driving.
Wolf Watchers: From Montana: Rick M, Doug M, Kathy L, Alan and Sue O. From California: Bill W. From Colorado: Mark and Carol R, and Jeremy S. From Canada: Jeff M. From Washington: Larry and Linda. Bear Watchers: From Idaho: Alan J and Sydney H. From Arkansas: Jerry C. From Montana: Doug M. Others: All from Montana: Bob L, Nathan V, MacNeil L, Emile, Quinn, Steve B, Dan, Cindy and Kelly H, Ray R, Jim H, Tish, Ken T, and Keli H.
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