Thursday, May 29, 2014

Yellowstone 2014 – The Other Animals

Here’s the final installment of my summary of Karyn and my recent trip to Yellowstone National Park. In a previous post I presented Yellowstone 2014–The Mammalian Predators and Yellowstone 2014 – The Birds!

While bears and wolves get most of the attention, there is a lot of other cool wildlife to watch in the park.  The moose at the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek were a constant attraction when they were visible – a female with two yearlings.

Yearling moose at confluence of Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek.

Female and two yearling moose at confluence of Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek.

Further up Soda Butte Creek we would see a moose near dusk on our evening drive to Cooke City.

While watching moose and looking for wolves at the confluence, we would often see beaver working the area. The number of beaver in the areas have increased dramatically since the wolves were re-introduced. It is believed that the wolves change the behavior of the elk. The elk eat less willow along the risky river banks. More Willow leads to more beaver. We expect that more beaver will help build trout habitat, so yes wolves may help trout!

Beaver at the confluence of Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek.

Beaver at the confluence of Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek.

Beaver at the confluence of Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek.

If you have followed my blog for very long you will know that we are big fans of the Pika! The Hellroaring trailhead is always a great place to find them and this year was no exception.

American Pika, Hellroaring Trailhead.

Bighorn Sheep were ever present at the Yellowstone picnic area, but the evening sunlight was great for highlighting them on the cliffs above Soda Butte Creek.

Bighorn Sheep, Soda Butte Creek.

Bighorn Sheep ram, Yellowstone picnic area.

We would also spy Mountain Goats each evening above Round Prairie.

Mountain Goat, above Round Prairie.

One one photo of Pronghorn? What were we thinking?

In a previous post I mentioned that you can’t admire the predator without respecting the prey. Here is a prey species, the Uinta Ground Squirrel, which we have seen taken by Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, and Coyotes. I am sure they are also eaten by most other predators in the park. But, they are beautiful!

Uinta Ground Squirrel, Hellroaring Trail.

And I will close with a non-animal photo – two hot springs in Norris Geyser Basin. Different water temperatures lead to different organisms inhabiting the water, thus the color.

Until we return again…

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