Wildlife, Yellowstone National Park
We didn't see any Bighorn Sheep on our first visit in August of 05, but on our Sept. 06 trip we saw plenty! Our first encounter with these guys was on the Canyon/Tower stretch of the Loop road. It was just past dusk and I had a hard time figuring out what they were until we drove up just next to them.
The best viewing of the bighorns was on our way out of the northeast entrance towards Gardiner.
We pulled over to spot ablout fifteen of these guys on a hilltop.
They like rocky, mountainous terrain, so look for these guys on hillsides.
We had many, many encounters with Black Bears on our Sept 06 trip. About six of them were hanging out on a hillside on the Cayon/tower stretch of the Loop road. We stopped to see them every day. They were always up to something, climbing trees, ripping down branches, and eating, they were always eating(almost time for hibernation I suppose)
Fondest memory: I just loved watching the mama bear and her 2 little cubs climbing trees. What a memorable experience!
Favorite thing: Word on the street in Yellowstone was that there was a Bison carcass in Hayden Valley. Where there is a carcass, there are bears and wolves.... so off we went. As we hiked to the hilltop where the other hundred photographers and nature lovers were staked out, this big fella came down from the hills for a bite to eat. He was able to have quite a bit of a meal with only crows for company before, like lightning, a lady grizzly came tearing down the mountain at top speed. He being either a fraidy cat or a gentleman, graciously stepped aside so that she could have a bite. Meanwhile...the Hayden Valley Wolf Pack was gathering up on the ridge...now this was their kill and they wanted it back., so with their snow white Alpha female in the lead, they raced down the hill and took over the remnants of the carcass with hardly a scuffle with the lady bear. We watched this episode for hours until the light had almost completely faded. It was a live version of the discovery channel. Truly Amazing.
My mom read aloud to us quite a bit when we were traveling. Two of the books she read were
Cubby in Wonderland, and Cubby Returns by Frances Joyce Farnsworth.
These books are still available and you can get both of them on CD.
CUBBY IN WONDERLAND by Frances Joyce Farnsworth (University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1932). An illustrated children's fiction classic, first published in 1932 as part of the National Parks and Monuments Series, and later revised in 1958. Cubby and mama bear take a journey from their cave in the Tetons to Yellowstone. In the park they meet and learn more about other animals and the strange ways of the two-footed tribe. This is the story of their adventure.
Fondest memory: This is one of my fondest memories of Yellowstone because it gave me an understanding of the park in the form of a story.
Among the topics discussed were the algae that made the water of the hot springs terraces colored, beaver dams and houses, otters, pelicans and moose.
Favorite thing: One of my most favorite memories of Yellowstone is being in a parade of bison. It was so amazing. We had been driving in Yellowstone stopping each time we saw bison along the way but they were always so far away, we didn't really want to get too close or disturb them. Then the next thing we know, we are driving in the middle of their walk. It was so amazing. We had our windows down and we could (if we wanted to, but we didn't just in case) stick our hand out and pet the bison. It was the early summer, so some of the bison were shedding and their tufts of fur would fall of and we could catch it in our hands. It was an amazing experience. They are so used to all of the cars, so it was nothing to them. It was quite a nice surprise to be driving along with the bison. I know that some people were quite upset at having to drive so slow (really stop and go). Some people just stopped when they saw somewhere to get off. But there were others, like us, who just kept driving along withthem until we reached our destination. If this happens to you, I definitely recommend taking the drive. However, I think it is important to remember that this is their home and they should have the right of way. We stopped to allow them to get in front of us, so they could be all together and we tried to respect their needs when we could tell what they were. We didn't have any problems with the bison and it was such an amazing treat.
Favorite thing: I found that the most consistant area in Yellowstone to see elk is right in the middle of Mammoth Hot Springs Village. The elk are attracted to the lawns in the village, and can be seen in front of the hotel, near the Hot Springs, at Fort Yellowstone, on the median along the road by the Post Office. If fact, just about anywhere. They're not completetly predictable. So you can't say that at 5PM daily they'll be in front of the Terrace Grill. But, we stayed at the Mammoth Cabins for 4 nights, and every day we found elk grazing somewhere in the village. Plus, it seemed like most evenings just before sunset, many of the elk started up the old Gardner Road and went to the plateau overlooking the area.
Fondest memory: We actually spent 1 1/2 days in the park (next time we would like to spend more time in order to see everything) but we were simply blown away by the amount of wildlife roaming everywhere...it seemed like you could almost reach out and touch them. Whether walking along the road (bison) or relaxing in the river, it's an amazing sight to behold.
With a wing-span of up to 6 ft. I never expected to see Pelicans so far inland. They nest in the park and are quite common in Hayden Valley and Yellowstone Lake.
Other birds you may observe around water are Canada's Geese, Mallards and Trumpeter Swans.
Favorite thing: You see lots of different animals in YNP. I think I mostly saw squirrels running around in the forests. They are not really shy, that´s why I had the chance to take a photo of one of them which was collecting food for the winter.
Favorite thing: Yellowstone is home to the largest herds of Elk in the US. They are all over the park and can be seen any time of the day.
More Wildlife encounters while driving thru the park.
My favorite was this American Bald Eagle at dawn...
Favorite thing: An early morning start will allow you to catch some of Yellowstone's nocturnal wildlife such as the red fox.
Favorite thing: Black bear are prevalent through the park. Here is a cub exploring the area while his mother watches.
Favorite thing: I happened to come across upon a pair of wolves. A rare sight of crossing a highway just north of yellowstone lake.
Favorite thing: We were lucky to see some bisons out of a car. They are a few times faster than a human being, so be careful in approaching them to take a photo!