29
Aug
14

Out of the Morning Fog

It had rained the night before, so the morning dawned cold and foggy.  I had decided to drive to the bison carcass, knowing I would at least see grizzlies and maybe even some wolves.  When I got to the carcass about a dozen bears circled around it, some feeding, some nervously waiting, and wolves waited nearby.  Slowly the fog rolled in shrouding the carcass.  The best light of the day was rising and I impatiently watched as the bears and wolves disappeared, so I decided to drive down the road where I had seen a big bear two days before.  I didn’t get far.  I turned a corner and several cars had stopped.  I could see a dark shape emerging from the foggy hilltop.  A small female grizzly, my guess; two to three years old, searched the hillside for grubs.

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She would paw at the ground, sniff around and paw at the ground some more.

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I had guessed right.  The large grizzlies dominated the carcass while the smaller grizzlies gravitated outward seeking other sources of food, bringing this one close to the roadside.

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I suppose I should tear myself away from the wildlife and check out the sights like Old Faithful, but then again, I already know I’m not a good tourist, so, why should I?

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Because maybe this was my best opportunity to get a close-up of a grizzly, in which case, damn the fog!

28
Aug
14

Grizzly and the Ducks

Watching and waiting for a grizzly bear to do something takes patience.  We watched this big male slowly work its way across a large field with a stream running through it.  He eventually made his way over to the stream, I assumed to get a drink.

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Or maybe he wanted some duck for breakfast.

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27
Aug
14

Meet the Grizzlies

You’ve seen this big fellow before.  The first full day inside Yellowstone, I decided to drive down to the Lamar Valley.  Many people had told me about the Lamar Valley because of my interest in photographing wildlife.  I set out from my campsite as the sun rose, hoping I would get to Lamar before the best light of the day was gone.  On my way I passed several fields which had been filled with bison the day before.  The bison had withdrawn deep into the fields, so I hadn’t planned to stop for photos until I saw this big grizzly walking though the field.  It is the first grizzly I’ve ever seen.

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Adult males will weigh about 400 to 800 pounds (180 to 360 kg), while females are about half as much.  Standing on its hind legs a large male will be as high as ten feet (3 meters).  Known for ferociousness, they are the largest of North America’s predators to make their home in the United States.  You can tell a grizzly from other bears by the distinctive hump between its front shoulders.  Other bears, such as, black bears, brown bears and polar bears do not have this hump.

Over the next few days I will be posting more images of grizzly bears.  They include images of grizzlies eating a bison, and wolves watching them.  I also have photos of a female grizzly that I got much too close to, but decided to photograph her anyway because she was there and so was I.

26
Aug
14

Bison Die

In the photograph below you can see two brown shapes.  The one on the right is a dead bison.  How he died?  I do not know.  The brown shape to the left is a full-grown grizzly approaching for breakfast.

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Over the next several days many hundreds if not thousands of people gathered to watch the spectacle as grizzlies, wolves, birds and other carrion gathered to feast on this dead bison.

25
Aug
14

Found New Roads

108 days, 11,160 miles (17,960 Kilometers), 16 states, 10 National Parks, dozens of national forests and countless mountain passes.

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25
Aug
14

Bison Wallow

During the Summer flies and mosquitoes pester the living hell out of every breathing thing in North America.  Bison have developed a method to rid themselves of these pests called wallowing.  The series of photos below shows a full-grown male bison wallowing in order to rid himself of pesky insects.

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24
Aug
14

Bison Swim

The Yellowstone River runs through the section of Yellowstone National Park near where I stayed at Bridge Bay Campground.  The Yellowstone River runs cold, fast and deep.  During the time I stayed in the area it claimed the lives of at least two people.

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I wasn’t surprised to see bison swimming across the Yellowstone, but it did give me some action to show in the photos.

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Full-grown male bison can weigh as much as 2000 pounds (over 900 kilos).

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From these photos you can see they sink almost completely under when they swim, with just their backs and their noses remaining out of the water.

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They are also powerful enough to swim straight across the river.  They didn’t drift with the current.

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Even the big bison below powered his way straight across the river.

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