DAY EIGHT - Tuesday, June 30

BUGGED OUT

Today I have to pack up so I am out a little bit late. I head in at 5:10. Itís a warm 53 degrees.

Again there are no Lamar signals this morning. Itís a little cloudy and buggy already.

There is a report of a brief sighting of 911 from Little America, but nothing now. And Doug reports that he and Jeremy had a brief sighting of wolves on the Blacktail; Rick is going there. Kathie is heading south. Laurie & Dan and I decide to try our luck at Slough. Lizzie tells us she will check on Lamarís again.

By staying at Slough we miss a nice sighting of the Prospects (9 adults) from S Curves heading west towards the cabin. But Lizzie has weak signals of 911 from Dorothyís as well as weak signals from Lamar to the south, which means chances are slim to find them. Although anything could happen.

Laurie and I scope from Dorothyís looking all over Specimen and Divide Ridge hoping to find 911 from here. Instead I see 7 sandhills. Now Lizzie gets 907 fairly strong. Hmmm. At the back of Jasper Bench we hear a coyote barking and see alert pronghorn. Then we find a bunch of birds in one area and they fly off en masse. So now we wonder if there might be a carcass in that area, out of sight for us? But Laurie proposes the birds might just be young ravens learning to fly.

The signals never get better and we never find the wolves, so we no longer think there is a carcass. The pronghorn have now bedded. We scope around and find a bald eagle in a tree and I zero in on several meadowlarks following their gorgeous song.

Then a visitor comes up and shows Rick a photo of a black collared wolf in Little America. Laurie IDís it as 970, the alpha female of the Junctions. Hmmm, now we all head west to check that out. Rick goes to Straightaway; Laurie and Dan and I go out to Bobís Knob at Slough.

We are attacked mercilessly by bugs again and the heat is annoying, so we donít stay out long. Laurie hears from Kathie Ė there is nothing in Hayden so she is coming back. Looks like itís just another one of those days. Then poor Lizzie gets sick. We help her get home to her cabin at Tower. Her roommate is here. She starts to feel better and we leave her sucking on ice chips. Poor kid!

As I drive Laurie and Dan back to their car, we learn that an antelope was hit just west of Straightaway last night. Rangers have dragged it to the north, out of sight. So now we think 970 might have been trying to get to the antelope carcass.

Rick thinks it is best not to draw attention to the carcass so he encourages us to scope from further east. I figure coyotes will find it and finish it off before any wolves get to it.

So we go back east to see if there is any change in the Lamar situation. Nope. Signals still weak. Ah well.

At Hitching Post I say my goodbyes. I tell Laurie if it stays hot and buggy I probably wonít come back later in July. Iíll wait for it to get cold again!

I head west. At Junction Butte I see the black bear sow with two cinnamon cubs. And then at Floating Island Lake I see a black bear sow with one cub. At this sighting the bugs are really bad again.

There are ruddy ducks on Floating Island Lake Ė the ones with those weird blue bills. They are splashing all around, having territorial disputes or mating displays, Iím not sure which.

I retreat to the bug-free zone of my car and aim for Bozeman. And I turn on the A/C.

TODAY I SAW: 5 black bears (including 3 cubs), bison, coyote, sandhill cranes, ruddy ducks, a bald eagle, elk, meadowlarks, pronghorn, ravens, and the spirit of Allison.




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