Yellowstone (and points north)

June, 2012

With Pete returning from his 6 month long Pacific to Gulf photo tour, I headed north to Yellowstone to spend a week with him, primarily because I wanted to see wild wolves before I check out.  Pete has been diligent in his photography of the wolves since their initial reintroduction and despite what the naysayers predicted (or still predict) the wolves haven’t (yet) eliminated all of God’s other creatures from the park and all the livestock from the 7 western states before moving into the cities to prey on school children).  When one looks at the condition of the park and notes the high percentage of dead and dying trees in the unburned areas, an outcome of high occurrence of beetles resulting from global warming that allows them to survive over the winter months; or observes that at least ½ of the forests are in some level of recovery from recent wildfires; wolves seem as dangerous to the ecosystem as do the toy poodles peeking out of the thousands of Tour America RVs cruising through the park at 55mph.  But who listens to those damn liberal sky-is-falling scientists anyway?  Wolves are insatiable killers…right?  (I find one of the primary differences between the political parties is that one side uses science to temper politics whereas the other uses politics to temper science.)

Pete didn’t disappoint me.  The first day out we saw 10 wolves feeding on a carcass of a bison.  Sure, they were a ½ mile away but they were real wild wolves.  Up at 4:30 and back at 7:30 each day, I got photos of at least 25 species.  Grizzlies, otters, badgers, pronghorn, bighorn, etc.  Then on to Dillon for 2 days to photograph great gray owls and goshawks.  Am now sorting through 6,000 images, here are a very few of the results:

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Grizzly (a bit too close for comfort)

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Grizzly

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Gray Wolf

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Wolves playing

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Bison watching wolves dine on a relative

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Coyote

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Coyote, mom and pup

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Red Fox-Just before he caught a ground squirrel

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Badger

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River Otter

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Pronghorn

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Harlequin Ducks

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White Pelican

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Spotted Sandpiper

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Great Gray Owl

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Goshawk

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Mountain Bluebird

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