Dale picked us up at 5:30 AM and we headed out into the brisk morning. Brrr. It was 39 degrees, so we were bundled up against the cold. At 6:43 AM we drove past the same black bear that we had seen at Blacktail Deer Plateau eating the carcass. In Lamar Valley, just past the buffalo ranch we saw a large crowd gathering. It’s the easiest way to know that there is something good to see. There was a black wolf! She has a limp and is collared and is known as #889F. She had been down by the river and now was coming towards the the crowd. What luck. I can’t believe how close we were. She was running right towards our vehicle and passed by us, within 15 feet. It seemed like a once in a life time opportunity. (The sad news is that she was killed in the fall of 2014 during the wolf hunt. There’s a lot of animosity between wildlife photographers and hunters.)
We headed out and found an osprey nest at Lamar Canyon and then we headed on to the Yellowstone picnic area , where we took photos of a some bighorn sheep. Beautiful. There was also a raven that was quite tame and willing to pose for a photo, and then I was lucky enough to get a photo of a pair of mountain bluebirds.
On the way up to Calcite Springs we saw a cinnamon-colored black bear. There was a mob of people by Rosie’s Meadow and the Park Ranger was motioning for us to move on. So we drove up and parked up in the lot by Calcite Springs and we saw a black bear with three cubs – Rosie! The cubs were climbing up and down a tree. Two of the cubs were wrestling and having a lot of fun and a shy cub was hanging out closer to mom. Fantastic. There was a lot of giggling going on amongst the photographers while the sound of shutters clicked. When there’s a lot of photographers (as there usually is) the sound of shutters clicking is reminiscient of typewriters. It’s amazing how many people have expensive camera equipment. After we had spent some time there, we headed back to Blacktail Deer Creek and Mark was able to see a black bear scratching his back on a tree. After lunch, we went back to our hotel for our agreed upon afternoon break and we took the time to look at the photos we had taken. A lot of them were blurry, so we were wondering if it was an equipment problem or a technique issue. We’ll be talking about it with Dale. After our break, we headed back to Rosie’s Meadow and the the bear and three cubs were still there. The cubs were adorable and it was so fun watching them. The two rambunctious cubs had climbed a tree and the shy cub was hanging out with mom. After a while, Rosie went up to the tree and was leaning up against the tree with a longing look. Even though we couldn’t hear any sound, she must have been quietly calling the cubs, because they came down and she nursed them sitting against a tree. Wow! Then we went back to Elk Creek and saw two more black bears, but we didn’t take photos because of the distance. This area is crowded with numerous fallen trees. (Perhaps it’s because in the big Yellowstone fire in 1988?) We headed over to Lamar Valley to take photos of bison. The baby bison are known as red dogs. It’s so sweet to see them nursing and running around. There were some older bison that were play-rutting and being wild. It was really cool. We went over to Mammoth Hot Springs and saw a cinnamon mama black bear with two cubs. One was cinnamon and one was black. What a day! ~ Mary & Mark
Siting List: black wolf, 12 black bears, osprey, mtn. bluebirds, big horn sheep
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