Monday, May 25, 2009

Not so Wild in the Wilds

Here is the third and final summary of our continued adventures in Yellowstone. The first part of the story is here - The Tyranny of Nature's Plan, part two is here - The Struggle for Existance.

Our last few days in Yellowstone came with mixed experiences. We had some great wildlife viewing experiences, hiked beautiful trails with little or no people, but mostly dealt with the crowds of people flooding the park. Lesson: Do not spend memorial day in the park! For the first time ever, I was happy to exit the park. Lesson 2: if you are willing to hike more than a mile, there are vast wide open spaces with no one else around. The good news for the wildlife is that most of the people visiting the park are too lazy to get off the road.

Yours truly scouting the local avifauna.

The highlights of our remaining day included numerous views of the druid and cottonwood wolf packs, watching a black bear and her two cubs each evening, and hiking trails and not seeing a soul (until within a mile of the road!).

Druid Pack Wolf on Carcass.
Taking a Bone back to the Den.
Coyote's Turn on Carcass.

"You can't fix stupid". This was a quote from a fellow wolf watcher as we watched two guys park their car in a "no stopping zone" and walk up the hill to get a better photo of wolves. Three yearling wolves had a cow elk surrounded and appeared to be looking for her calf. These idiots walked to within 30-40 yards of the wolves. Some day there will be a wolf/human interaction and it will most likely be the result of stupidity like this. Of course, they will blame the wolf and not the individual making the poor decision. The two pretended to not speak English in poorly phased and poorly accented Spanish. Another reason to avoid the park on Memorial Day weekend.

In another blatant disregard for the wild of wildlife, here is a view of what a badger in a badger den has had to deal with for the past week. These guys are less than 10 yards from the den. Morning to night.

Badger paparazzi.

In all, up to this weekend, it was another fabulous trip to the park.

Moose near Soda Butte.
Savannah Sparrow.

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