Monday, July 20, 2015

Wildlife in Yellowstone

We saw our fair share of wildlife in and around Yellowstone.  Moose was the hardest to see.  We saw one moose on the side of the road on our way into Yellowstone but that was our only moose spotting on the entire trip.

We did see 6 bears (4 in Yellowstone and 2 in the Beartooth Mountains).  Here are our bear sightings (I didn't get a picture of the 4th bear in Yellowstone-we just saw the cub and it was pretty far away playing among fallen logs.  We think the cub was a black bear.)  The first bear we saw was a mama grizzly bear with 2 cubs who had found a bison carcass.  She would eat off the carcass and then bury it with grass.  She would leave and then come back later.  Our second night in Yellowstone we went out after dinner looking for wildlife and didn't find any the way we went so we went south from our campground which took us to the Hayden Valley and that was where this mama grizzly bear was.  We saw her at night but it was pretty dark.  She was there again in the morning when we drove by the next time.  She was there many other times as well-you could tell because there would be tons of cars parked alongside the road and a huge crowd of people on the hill overlooking the valley.  There were always several rangers and by the end of our time there they had cones set up on the hill and people had to stay back behind them as not to agitate the mama bear.  For Noah, this was a highlight of the trip.  He wanted to tell everyone about it.

 In the picture below you can see the mound on the right.  That is where the bison carcass is and you can see how she buried it with dirt and grass.
The follow day we stopped in another part of the Hayden Valley because there was a single grizzly bear.  This one had a collar on.
Here are the bears that we saw in the Beartooth Mountains.  We figured that they are young bears.  They were so close to us (and the other cars that were there) but they just kept eating whatever plant was there that they were enjoying.

We got VERY close to bison because we had 3 bison walk down the center line in the road and walk right past our car.  Noah and Brian probably could have reached out and pet the bison if they had rolled down their window!

We also saw bison not on the street.  We found a herd of bison the first day we drove into the park.  We were quite excited to see them!  We saw the same herd another time in about the same place.  We saw another herd of bison on our way out of the park in the Lamar Valley.  That herd was MUCH bigger.  We saw a single bison swim all the way across a river.
 This was only part of the herd.

We saw some elk.  I think we were seeing the same 2 elk over and over again because they were in relatively the same area and there were generally only 1-2 of them at a time.  I got up one morning at 5:45 after sleeping miserably because it was terribly cold-it was 38 degrees when I got in my car so I assume it was colder than that during the night and I went for a drive thinking I could spot a lot of wildlife.  Well my plan failed because it was too foggy to see anything.  I saw 2 bison and 2 elk and that was it.  At least I got warm!

We also saw Canadian geese, cranes, red squirrels, chipmunks, ground squirrels, ravens, and several other small animals.

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