Report from April 16 and 22 Wolves!!!

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Report from April 16 and 22 Wolves!!!

Post by karenandbill »

The West Entrance opened on April 16 and we were so pleased to be able to get back in. The gate didn't open until 8 AM so It was 10 AM by the time we got to Lamar Valley. Not much to see (a pair of swans) heading in except bison were everywhere, especially on the road. There was a large herd of about 60 heading down the road by Hellroaring which delayed us about 20 minutes. When a gap opened up, several cars got through. But, of course, the car in front of us hesitated and the bison moved back in front.

Headed over to Slough Creek area and there were several people out with scopes, but they didn't seem to be all that engaged so we decided to keep going hoping to get a better look in Lamar. We drove through all the way to Barronette Peak and didn't see anything except for bison, with some in the road again. On the way back, however, we saw a group of 9 rams on the hillside just past the Confluence.

ImageDSC_0094 by William Reinke, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0095 by William Reinke, on Flickr

Shortly thereafter we saw a bald eagle perched on a rock by the river. We stopped at Slough just in time to see the wolf watchers packing up and leaving, but we figured to give it a shot and set up the scope towards the old den area. After some searching we were able to see 2 wolves bedded in the sage, a gray and a black. They were a looong way out so no photos, but it was nice to see them anyway.

We decided to head down towards Old Faithful. One more swan in the river and a coyote trotting through a field was about it. Not the most exciting day ever, but it was still great to be back in the park!

We did not get back in until Thursday, April 22. But during the week Bill was able to feed his chickadees again. He was thrilled to see his one-legged friend made it through the winter. And on Tuesday Karen was sitting at the table facing the window out into our back yard. She had her head down, getting something out of her purse, and when when looked up, a red fox with a ground squirrel in its mouth was staring in the window at her, about four feet away!!!The snow is still piled up from sliding off our roof and the fox climbed up and was checking us out. Bill was sitting in a chair in the living room and when Karen called him the fox got down and trotted off.

So on Thursday we headed in, hitting West Yellowstone at about 6 AM. The geyser areas are so cool at this time of year with steam billowing everywhere along with a beautiful sunrise. Not as many bison on the road which was a big relief and we made good time as there were hardly any cars out. After turning at Mammoth we were almost to Blacktail ponds when we saw one guy at a pullout getting his scope out. We pulled in and Karen spotted wolves out in the sage.

ImageDSC_0100 by William Reinke, on Flickr

There were 8 total as one was heading up the hill toward the trees where we heard a group howl. The seven we were watching then answered with a group howl of their own. These wolves were only about three hundred yards away so the sound was very clear. Several families drove up and we were able to give them a great look through our scope. One little girl was especially thrilled as she and her mom and dad made the trip especially to see wolves. She even had a wolf hat on. These were the first wolves they had ever seen. I don't think they fully realized what a rare sighting this was.

ImageDSC_0096 by William Reinke, on Flickr

We watched for a few minutes and then one-by-one the wolves got up and headed up the hill toward the trees where the first howl came from. We were just about to leave when they started to come out of the trees and head through the sage back to the west. Now we had a count of 11 but they kept going in and out of view as they moved through the sage. In this photo we got 8 of them.

ImageDSC_0107 by William Reinke, on Flickr

I like this shot. It only shows 3, but there's a light gray, a dark gray, and a black.

ImageDSC_0110 (1) by William Reinke, on Flickr

They were moving quickly and got behind some hills out of view. So we headed back to the west and pulled into the Wraith Falls parking lot. There was a herd of bison there and we were hoping for a chase. About then a plane showed up and started circling overhead of where the wolves would be, but still out of sight to us. Finally, several appeared near the bison but showed no interest in them and started heading up the hill to the trees.
We had a couple of brief views, but that was it as they headed into the trees. My guess is the plane may have spooked them, but who knows?

We headed on to Lamar. There were 3 wolves bedded to the south of Slough about a mile or more out, but with the look we just had we decided to move on. Just missed 7 moose near Pebble creek, but they were bedded in the trees and no longer visible. Did see a pair of coyotes move along the road and into the sage. We got a short hike in at the Indian Creek Campground road. The road was plowed so it was mostly dry. Then we decided to head down towards Old Faithful to hopefully see some bears which have eluded us so far. Just past Midway Geyser Basin there were a few cars off the road and some people looking so we pulled off. At first we didn't see anything, but then Karen spotted what she thought was a black bear through the steam. Then she realized it was a wolf!

ImageDSC_0116 by William Reinke, on Flickr

We watched it move away from us for a few minutes, then disappear into some more steam. We drove down the road hoping to pick it up again, but there were a lot of trees and we never did see it come out.

Then we headed home warmly cherishing another great day in the park, seeing wolves in 2 places we had never seen them before. You just never know what is around the next bend in the road!

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Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:45 pm

Re: Report from April 16 and 22 Wolves!!!

Post by Dorothy »

How very cool! Thanks so much for sharing the photos and experience. Makes me want to get there soooo much. Since I can't right now, thanks for letting me get there through your experiences.

Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:22 pm

Re: Report from April 16 and 22 Wolves!!!

Post by Kat »

Thank you for your report! I especially enjoyed your shots of the wolves.

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