Thursday, July 31, 2014

Wildlife at Yellowstone National Park - VI

It's hard to miss the Bison and Elk, but there are some smaller animals at Yellowstone that are fun to find and photograph. In this case, the Yellow Bellied Marmot. I found this guy on Blacktail Ridge Road, a one-way dirt road branching off from the main road from Mammoth to Tower Falls.

He was very curious about me and let me take many, many photos. Here are a couple:

Yellow Bellied Marmot

Yellow Bellied Marmot

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wildlife at Yellowstone National Park - VI

Can I get excited about seeing wildlife at Yellowstone National Park even though I can't really get a good photo?

You betcha.

I mentioned a couple of days ago about Bighorn Sheep at Barronette Peak out past Lamar Valley and near the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. I suspect less than one tenth of one percent of Yellowstone's visitor's drive by Barronette Peak. And, I'll bet that few of those stop to look. But it's a great look. And, frequently you can find Bighorn Sheep -- or, Mountain Goats. 

I drove out one morning hoping to find Mountain Goats. I arrived at the pullout; stopped the car; got out; and within five seconds of scanning the mountain, spotted a small herd of Mountain Goats. As you can see, it's hard to see the Mountain Goats from the first photo (using a 35 mm lens). Even after walking up that path to a ledge overlooking the river in front of the mountain, and using my 400 millimeter lens (the second photo) it's not easy. But they are there, right in the middle of the photo.

Since I've gotten very close to Mountain Goats in the past I wasn't disappointed not being able to do so this time. I was just in awe of these beautiful and amazing animals.

Mountain Goats

Mountain Goats

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wildlife at Yellowstone National Park - V

Elk. Elk fall in the same category as Bison. I don't go to Yellowstone in hopes of finding them to photograph. Got plenty already. And, as is the case with the Bison, I don't usually stop no matter how big the crowd. Yet, on occasion one catches my eye and begs for a photo. 

In the first photo, I was out Hayden Valley very early one morning and saw this big Bull Elk wading in water eating the vegetation. I was worth the stop and photo:

Big Bull Elk
The second photo, taken in the town of Mammoth, sleeping on grass in the center of the town was this young fawn. I just wanted a photo:

Elk Fawn

Monday, July 28, 2014

Wildlife at Yellowstone National Park - IV

Pronghorn Today. Pronghorn seem to be doing well in Yellowstone these days. I saw more on this trip than in previous trips -- and in a wider variety of areas.

This first photo was taken along Yellowstone River off a side road just north of Gardiner, so actually before you get to the park. Pronghorn were also in the fields around the North Entrance.

This next photo was taken on Blacktail Plateau Road, a six mile one way dirt road between Mammoth and Tower:

Western Wyoming is probably the best place in the US to find and photograph Pronghorn. I came across this female with her two fawns about 50 miles south of Grand Teton National Park. First, they posed for me while eating among the sagebrush. Then they took off running. Then stopped at the crest of the hill with the snow covered mountains of Bridger Wilderness in the background:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wildlife at Yellowstone National Park - III

Bighorn Sheep.  There are a few places where you can find Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. One is Barronette Peak all the way out past Lamar Valley and a couple miles from the Northeast Entrance. A second is on the Grand Loop Road near Mount Washburn. But, the most reliable place is near the bottom of the road from the North Entrance to Mammoth. I passed by there about 12 times on this trip and saw the Bighorns four of those times. Here are a few photos:

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Ewe Eating

Bighorn Sheep Resting 

Bighorn Sheep a little further up the mountain.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Wildlife at Yellowstone National Park - II

Today, the Bison. Impossible to go to Yellowstone and not see American Bison. They are just about everywhere in the Park. If you want big herds, then Lamar and Hayden Valleys are the places to go. Over the years and many trips to Yellowstone I have gotten a large number of Bison photos. So, I don't really concentrate on photographing them anymore. Yet, I did stop occasionally this trip for a photo. Here are a couple:

Bison Calves

Bison Lone Bull

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wildlife in Yellowstone

Back to photos from my trip to Yellowstone. Today, up close and personal with a Coyote:

Coyote among the Wildflowers

Coyote Chewing on Something

Coyote Back to the Wildflowers

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Madera Canyon Rare Birds

Since this is the slow season at our B&B, I've been getting out photographing as much as possible -- hence the lack of posts. Yet, because I've been out photographing there is much to post about.

I've made a couple of trips to Madera Canyon the past two weeks. So, before I get back to Yellowstone, here are a couple of rarities I photographed at Madera. Both of these birds are rare to the United States so a nice find. 

Whiskered Screech Owl

Whiskered Screech Owl

Plain Capped Starthroat with Broad Billed and Black Chinned Hummingbirds

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Noah's Coati

Just before my trip to Yellowstone, my grandson Noah and I stayed at Cave Creek Ranch in the Chiricahua Mountains for two nights. Noah is 11. One morning, he wanted to sleep in and just rest from all the activities he's been involved with this summer. So I went out on my own looking for Coatis and Bears.

I returned to the cabin four hours later -- not having seen either a Bear or Coati -- and heard the following story from Noah:

"Granddaddy, I was sitting in a chair in the living room when I heard the screen door open and shut. I looked up and saw an animal trying to get in the cabin. He had a really long furry tail. (I knew right away what it was)."

So, Noah got up, used his notebook's camera, and took video of the Coati for the next couple of minutes.  The Coati continued to try to get in but then upon seeing Noah so close, ran up the tree right off the patio. Then Noah saw my iPhone on the kitchen table so took the following photos with my iPhone. When the Coati realized Noah just wanted photographs, he came down from the tree and wandered around in back of the cabin. More video for Noah.

He may be a Wildlife Photographer in the making:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bears of Yellowstone National Park - Part V

On my first afternoon at Yellowstone (this trip) I came across a traffic jam. Guessing "bear" I pulled off the road immediately and started walking -- long before I saw a bear. Finally, a sow with two cubs. They were about 50 yards away, down an embankment. Trying to walk down the embankment to get closer was not a good idea (even if there weren't four Park Rangers there to escort you out of the Park). 

There are many bears in Yellowstone. Probably one of the very best places in the US for viewing bears. Because it is a National Park the bears live there in safety and are usually not threatened by people.  

My experience has been that roughly 1/2 the time you come across a bear in the wild (not Yellowstone), the bear runs away. About 1/4 of the time it walks away. In neither of those cases do I follow or track the bear. The bear has told me it doesn't want me around. I heard him. And I respect that. So that leaves 1/4 of the time for me to get a photograph as long as I don't "screw-up."

Yet, in Yellowstone, rarely does the bear run or even walk away. It continues to do exactly what it wanted.

At Yellowstone, bears are accustomed to people. A wildlife photographer who is used to and familiar with photographing bears could get safely closer than Park Rangers normally allow. However, that is just not a good idea. We need to set a good example. Because the last thing we need is to have someone unfamiliar with bear behavior get too close or do something that disturbs the bear and creates an "attack." Not good for bear or person.

Although a little further away than I would have liked, I did get a few nice photos:

Two Black Bear Cubs "Wrestling"

The Two Cubs Walking Toward Their Mom

The Mom Stands Up to Look Out Over the Field. Cubs Alongside Her.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bears of Yellowstone National Park: Part IV

Late one morning during my Yellowstone trip I could see up ahead many cars jammed alongside the road. I could see lots of people as well. (It was at a bend in the road and I was able to see through the sparse number of trees as to what was happening). I could see that many people were running or walking fast back down the road in my direction. I guessed it was a bear and that the bear was coming in my direction. So, I parked off the road and waited. Sure enough the Cinnamon Black Bear came toward me and then up this pine tree in search of nuts. Because I was already in position I got some wonderful photos. Here's one of them:

Cinnamon Black Bear

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bears of Yellowstone National Park: Part III

The third morning, again out before dawn, I came across this Black Bear among the sagebrush. This time I was the only one there. I stayed with the Bear taking photos for about 20 minutes and left -- still no one else there. I like this "hidden picture" photo best:

Black Bear

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bears of Yellowstone National Park: Part II

Continuing with my trip to Yellowstone. On another morning I got up before dawn and headed out to an area where I had seen bears before. It was an area filled with wildflowers. When I arrived there was one other car. And low and behold a beautiful Black Bear was foraging through those wildflowers. I didn't stay long because there were other places I wanted to go before the crowds arrived. But I was there long enough to get this photo. What a lovely sight:

Black Bear among the Wildflowers

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bears of Yellowstone National Park

Finding Bears at Yellowstone:

There are two ways of finding bears at Yellowstone National Park. Get up just before dawn and go looking for a bear ............  or get up later and go looking for a large crowd of people standing alongside a road.

After spending four nights in Yellowstone last week, I can attest that either way works. One morning I decided to get to the same spot I saw a sow with her two cubs the afternoon before. (I figured that a mother bear with cubs this age would stay within a couple square miles of their den).  As I approached this spot (there were two cars in front of me) I saw the sow and two cubs cross the road. 

I immediately pulled off the road, grabbed my camera, got out of my Jeep, and started taking photos. It was a wonderful experience as the bear cubs played happily in and among the trees. After about 30 minutes there were about 8 other people, all enjoying the "show." Eventually, the cubs went high up into a nearby tree, the mother followed and then they all settled in for a nap. It appeared that they would be there for awhile and by this time it was getting to be quite crowded with people, so I gave up my spot and moved on. Here are a few of those photos:

Friday, July 11, 2014

My Favorite Photo from Yellowstone National Park

I am back from my photo trip to Yellowstone National Park which included sides trips to Seedskadee and Ouray National Wildlife Refuges.

I am still going through photos, but will give you a "sneak-peak" with my favorite so far:

Black Bear with Cub