05
Sep
14

Eagles in Yellowstone National Park

The Yellowstone River runs through the part of Yellowstone National Park where I stayed.  Being from Wisconsin where bald eagles are about as common as robins, I was surprised to see that a bald eagle got as much attention from the park’s tourists as the bears.

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I saw both bald and golden eagles during my stay in Yellowstone National Park.

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The one disappointment about the over 100 day trip was that I didn’t get a better shot of a golden eagle.

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03
Sep
14

American White Pelican

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01
Sep
14

Bears and Wolves

The bison carcass had been there for three days.  The bears feasted, the wolves waited and other carrion gathered.  Several hundred people gathered every day to watch the bears and each morning I went out to photograph them.  These photos are from the day the fog drifted in.

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The large white wolf was easy to see.  Much harder to see is the grey wolf laying right next to it.  What I didn’t realize, until I did some research on the bears of Yellowstone, was these bears are doing something new and maybe even unique to the bears of Yellowstone.  Grizzly bears will usually get territorial over a food source and not let other bears or animals near.

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A group of grizzlies gathering to feast at the same food source as in the picture above is believed to be caused by the wolves.  The wolves are so good at bringing down bison that there is plenty of food for all the big predators in Yellowstone to share.

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Wolves are a recent and controversial reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park, because unlike humans, wolves do not understand man-made boundaries.  The wolves wander outside the park and threaten farm animals and livestock, not to mention the fear they invoke in people.

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30
Aug
14

Bison in the Campground

Bison are everywhere in Yellowstone.  Several big males wandered through the campground like this one.

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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.




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