Thursday, 26 May 2016

Mammals of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

So Yellowstone is famous for its geological wonders. It sits on a super volcano and has more than 300 active geysers spilling out hot water, steam and boiling mud. We of course visited many of these fascinating places including the most famous geyser of them all "Old Faithful" which we watched as it blasted a plume of hot water and steam 125ft into the air. Our main interest however was seeing the parks fascinating wildlife and over the days we were in the park this did not disappoint.
Most famous of all are the herds of Bison and the packs of Wolves. We watched 7 wolf cubs at a den and an adult black Wolf on a kill, but all a bit far away for photographs, although I might have some video? Bison were everywhere and many had calves making it a wonderful experience.
Bison with calf
An here is a typical big old Bison
The next big mammals of Yellowstone are the bears and we saw many including Grizzly Bears with cubs always too far away for photos but great in the scope. Then the
Black Bears again with playful cubs up to all sorts of antics.

Black Bear with two crazy cubs

And another Black Bear which is brown and known as a cinnamon bear
We probably saw about 10 Black and 10 Grizzly Bears
Other mammals included a few Big Horn Sheep which must be getting rarer as park officials wanted sighting coordinates. We saw about 10 of these as well.
Big Horn Sheep
Mule Deer were seen in good numbers - look at their large ears!
 We also got see plenty of Elk and Pronghorn and White-tailed Deer
This Elk had small Antlers
Herd of Elk fleeing from a Wolf or Bear? We couldn't see the predator.

WE saw about three or four Moose during our travels.
This one and a couple feeding in the snow.

A few Red Squirrels were seen during the trip.

A Muskrat sat on the shore of Yellowstone Lake

A few Red Foxes were seen well

And Yellow-bellied Marmots were out in force.

Here are some very distant videos taken through my iphone6
First one is a Bison Herd seeing off a Black Wolf
Lone Black Wolf

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Owls in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

 One of the highlights of our trip was a superb Great Grey owl that was so confiding it defied belief. We also found two nest of Great Horned with chicks. 
Amazing just 20ft away perched on a post beside the road.
It was totally unconcerned by our presence and eventually flew just a short distance to a sign post where it was obviously watching for cattle on the road!
It then flew to a nearby copse and perched in a tree while watching for Pocket Gophers
What a fabulous bird, it moved to the other side of the road and perched on a small tree where I managed to get some great flight shots as it flew off to the next tree.

Earlier in the day we found a Great Horned Owls nest with an adult and two chicks. The other adult was perched in another tree nearby.
Two little Great Horned Owls
And here was the adult Great Horned Owl fast asleep.
And here is yet another Great Horned Owl we found sat on a snow covered Nest

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Yellowstone National Park

We had now moved from the Grand Tetons to Yellowstone National Park. Watching a pair of Harlequin Ducks at close quarters fishing and sitting on rocks was a great highlight.
Male Harlequin Duck
Female Harlequin Duck

A visit to Red Rocks National Wildlife Refuge was a great day out and we found lots of Mountain Bluebirds.

While Henry;s Lake produced superb views of Red-necked Grebes and American White Pelican.
Pair of Red-necked Grebes.
American White Pelican

A Lark Sparrow showed well at a picnic ground while Red-naped Sapsuckers put on some good performances.
One of the best looking sparrows we saw the Lark Sparrow
Red-naped Sapsucker

On the lower lake we had fabulous views of at least 30 Franklin's Gulls that came in and gave us close fly by's.

"Lesser" Sandhill Cranes were fairly easy to see.

And we had some nice looking Spotted Sandpipers with spots!

More to come including a bunch of mammals tomorrow.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Another great day in the Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Today started off a bit cold a rainy but we headed fore Antelope Flats and soon found Pronghorns, Bison and a lone Moose. Several Sage Thrashers showed well as did Western Meadowlark, and both Brewer;s and Vesper Sparrows.
Sage Thrasher
We then searched more of the sagebrush and found  both Short-eared Owl and a Northern Harrier hunting, plus up to 12 Greater Sage Grouse.
Moving on we found Red-naped Sapsuckers, lots of Mountain Bluebirds and on a lake a Barrow;s Goldeneye, Bufflehead and American Wigeon. Our next stop produced a superb Black Bear which soon walked off and out of sight behind a hill.
Black Bear
A little further on we came across Mountain Bluebirds
This Mountain Bluebird was one of may seen today.
Moving on the weather became better and birds and mammals began to show.
In one area we found several Clark's Nutcrackers
Nearby Gray Jays showed well and then we heard the distinctive call of  a Ruffed Grouse. We slowly approached and watched a bird displaying for nearly twenty minutes.
This Ruffed Grouse put on a great show. Nearby we watched Grey Jays and a very confiding Yellow-bellied Marmot.
To finish off a great day we called in to an area of marsh near to Jackson Hole and got great views of both Sora and Virginia Rail.
Virginia Rail

First full day around Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Today we checked out a few area near Jackson hole and enjoyed a good selection of birds and mammals surrounded by some of the best scenery in the world.
Broad-tailed Hummingbirds showed really well
But pride of place today went to the pair of Dusky Grouse we found at Signal Mountain
Plenty of other good birds were found including Bald Eagles, Sandhill Cranes and Mountain Bluebirds
And even the commoner birds look good like this White-crowned Sparrow and American Robin
I will see if I can get a few mammal shots tomorrow