FUN WITH DOUG AND HELEN
An early day today Ė I am on the road at 4:37, heading east and then south into Hayden Valley to hook up with Doug again.
I pass a blue grouse on the road at Lower Hellroaring. There is a gorgeous sunrise, giving me great views on the way over Dunraven. I have very little traffic and no animals on the way so I reach Hayden quickly. Just past the corrals I see a nice bull elk in velvet.
Unlike the northern range, there is still a good deal of snow in the Interior. Green-up has not arrived yet. Just before 7 AM I find Doug at one of the high pullouts south of Grizzly Overlook. We find many elk and a beaver down below at the riverís edge. There are geese, sandhill cranes and bison.
Now we head south to Lake.
Doug wants to take Gull Point Drive and Iím game so I follow. Really lovely views here. There is an overflow pond which usually has great bird life. Doug spots a Bufflehead asleep on a log jutting out over the water. He shoots that.
Then we head to Fishing Bridge General Store which opens at 7:30 and has the best coffee. Next we head out to Mary Bay and Sedge Bay. We stop to join some photogs shooting a blue bird nest. After we turn around, we stop near Mary Bay when we see marmots on the road. They cross from north to south and disappear into their favorite kind of jungle gym, a huge pile of jumbled rocks.
They are still quite active and we count seven altogether. Doug gets some good shots and they are very fun to watch.
Next we see pelicans onÖPelican Creek. And we watch a pair of bald eagles. One of them is carrying dinner which weighs him down so much he cannot clear the cliffs so he stops in a tree to eat more of it. Before flying off again.
We also see a gull in this area.
Then we head back over Dunraven, just missing a grizzly that some unhelpful people had in view but didnít alert us.
I ask the man where he last saw it. He says (without pointing) ďon that slope in those dead trees.Ē Doug and I laugh but weíre sorry to miss the bear.
We do find some elk including a calf kicking up its heels. There is a lot of shed on the hills, too.
Our next stop is the peregrine nest just south of Calcite overlook. We see one parent sitting on eggs. I meet Dougís photographer friend Max. We watch the peregrine and also see 3 green-violet swallows. They we notice a fox across the canyon, trotting along the Specimen Ridge trail, and below that two bighorns grazing just below the cliff top.
Below Calcite we get our first bear of the day. Itís sleeping in a tree, a big Douglas fir. Big John is presiding over the jam so I set up my scope and help the kids see. Itís a smallish bear Ė perhaps a two year old out on its own.
There are whole hillsides of Arrow leaf balsam root, looking particularly lovely. Above Phantom Lake we see a coyote Ė he comes down the hill and crosses the road. He looks a bit scraggly, shedding his coat for the summer. As we head down the S curves it looks mighty dark in the west, like a storm is brewing.
I bid farewell to Doug and Helen so I can take a nap at the Super 8. If Iíd gone with Doug and Helen Iíd have seen Quad Mom again Ė this time in Swan Lake flats. But I do meet them for dinner at the Raven. Delicious and close to home.
The storm has passed and the sun comes out again. We head east at 6:21 Ė hoping for Quad Mom again but no luck.
There are lots of sheep on the road at the High Bridge. We continue east into Little America and up into Lamar Canyon.
The water level is so high you canít see any of the big rocks or boulders. When we get past Dorothyís we see a major bison jam ahead of us. A ranger tries flashing his lights, but these bison donít care! We finally get through it and stop at Mid-Point so Doug can consider whether to shoot the bison. He changes his mind and the bison cross the road again.
We look for bears a while but no luck. I see a cow elk cross the road from north to south. She stays in the flats grazing. Itís really beautiful. Around 8:30 another storm is heading our way, making it much darker than it should be.
We head back and then stop at Undine. Doug wants to shoot the waterfall. He silks it but is not happy with the results. I donít think Iíve ever seen Undine this time of year. There is so much water it falls in three sections.
A light rain begins to fall so we pack up and head home.
Today I saw: a beaver, a black bear, bluebirds, bison, a Bufflehead, a coyote, sandhill cranes, 2 bald eagles, elk, a peregrine falcon, a fox, geese, a blue grouse, a gull, 7 marmots, pelicans, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, 3 green-violet swallows and the spirit of Allison.