Elk calves are arriving daily and with that comes the evil eye from scary elk mamas! A member of my running group recently passed along a great anti-crazy elk mama trick. Using what he saw one day when an elk approached someone holding an umbrella, he modified it a bit using a plastic garbage bag. Now when approached by an elk, I’ll be armed with a kitchen garbage bag, ready to pop that baby open! I also always carry bear spray, but this super light piece of safety gear may just come in handy one day. Beware crazy elk mamas!
Today was an amazing wildlife day along the Northeast Entrance Road. I needed to check out a project just past Lamar and managed to see two moose and one grizzly bear on the way out, and one grizzly and one black bear on the way back. So glad I brought the good camera along as a back up and the telephoto lens just happened to be in the bag too. And yes, it’s still snowing. Even the wildflowers seemed a bit miffed…
This week I found great joy in taking a small detour on my normal commute to look for spring wildlife and wildflowers, but mostly in search of baby bison. These little “red dogs” as some call them, are the fuzziest, cutest sign of spring. On this drive, the phlox were blooming, the sun was shining, and I was greeted by a few lady big horns out for an afternoon stroll…
We were happy our spectators were well off the road on our 8 mile run in the Gardiner Basin today. It was quite the running wildlife safari!
I recently had the good fortune of scoring a seat on the park’s courier to help deliver mail and other supplies to folks living in the interior of the park. Since I work in Mammoth this is a rare and exciting treat. Going into the park is like taking a trip to another planet! We were greeted by beautiful wintery landscapes, had several wildlife encounters, and enjoyed the bubbling thermal features along Yellowstone Lake at West Thumb Geyser Basin. For anyone who has ever dreamed of visiting this amazing place in the winter, it’s well worth the extra effort!
The mornings are cool, the leaves are changing colors, and snow is starting to cover the mountain tops. It’s fall in Mammoth Hot Springs and that means the paparazzi are in town to capture photos of our local celebs. Our celebs are the tall dark handsome types, however, they are also the dangerous kind. The kind that will charge your car, or try to chase you around if you approach their harem a little too close. Hoards of visitors come each fall to watch the chaos that ensues during the elk rut. Each day is like a TV soap opera around here, where the set is constantly moving and the body guards (rangers) are always on duty.
This month’s challenge was to humanize the non-human. Yellowstone may be one of the last wild places, but in Mammoth you can’t help but stop and be in awe of the local dating/mating scene that plays out (almost) like a trip to the local watering hole. Each fall I become a bit of a paparazzo myself. Be sure to check out Catherine’s blog for her take on this month’s challenge!
Each spring we look forward to possibly catching a glimpse of the neighborhood badger digging in our backyard. This year we’ve seen it quite a few times, and it even stayed around long enough to get a few shots of him digging in the ground squirrel holes looking for a snack. Those poor ground squirrels have had a rough season so far. In late April we watched as a long-tailed weasel raided their burrow. We haven’t seen any ground squirrel babies yet, but we’re hoping they’ll emerge when things warm up again soon!
This week I had the opportunity to take a fellow photographer out into the park. We were on a quest for beautiful landscapes, great golden hour lighting, and of course, Yellowstone’s cast of charismatic mega-fauna. It’s a wonderful thing to find those who share in the same obsession called photography. You can talk candidly about your lens envy, you squeal like little girls when you see the sun hitting the sagebrush just right, and you absolutely freak out when a grizzly walks into your view and you have the wrong lens on the camera for the right shots. Thank you Tierah for the lovely evening and wonderful facilitation workshop! You are an amazing instructor and I hope you’ll come back again to see us all again soon!