Monday, June 10, 2013

Yellowstone - Part Five - Bison

Bison also known as buffalo (although that's not the correct term but sure is fun to say) are everywhere.  If you go to Yellowstone and don't see a bison, you've got issues and need to go to an eye doctor immediately. 

While watching the previously reported mama black bear and her cinnamon cubs, I noticed a few bison on top of the nearby ridge top.  I was the first one to notice within this very large group and announced it so that everyone could be aware of our new company.  Bison can be ornery, unpredictable, and dangerous.  These guys were looking to head down the hill generally towards us.  I snapped a few shots as they came down the hill at a respectful distance.  This guy stopped in place. He seemed to have a lot on his mind and I thought he was just taking in the view and mob scene.  After all, he had plodded slowly down the hill and I didn't expect anything different.  As I recall, his buddies had already made it down the hill and were in valley just below us.  He had other plans.  After checking me out, his plan was to come down the hill at full speed towards me.  I managed this one last shot below, grabbed my camera and tripod, and screamed "Everyone get out of the way!"  The ranger yelled at everyone to get behind cars and the other people near me scurried into their vehicles just in time.  At this point, his buddies started very quickly walking back towards him and I thought there would be an incident between at least two bison.  We backed away some more and then all was quiet.  All of them went back into the valley and grazed. 
Don't mind me.  Just coming down the hill here.

Hmmmm. What's that?

I could go that way.

So many choices!

I WILL go that way!
There was at least one other time where we had a random incoming bison. This time it was mom and her calf.  In my mind, I hope she was running to catch up with her herd.

There also was a back and forth drama between a lone bison calf and a coyote in Lamar Valley.  For whatever reason, this calf got separated from its mother and herd.  A coyote had great interest in it and would sneak up on it when the calf was grazing or not looking.  Once the baby bison realized what was happening, the coyote was run away or pretend it wasn't up to something.  This repeated for quite awhile.  Eventually the coyote decided it was too big of a risk and took off.  The bison grazed some more and then took off running down the valley.  There was a herd of bison pretty close, but I guess it couldn't see it and ended up passing them.  We all thought that by tomorrow morning there would be a baby bison carcass in the valley, but we didn't see one.  Maybe a happy ending....but probably not.
Just like their fellow hooved farm animals, baby bison are pretty cute and like to frolic. You'd see a wide range of them from the newborns that very so unsteady, tiny, and unsure to the older, mischievous, and joyful. 
I feeling a sproing coming on!


Time to pee.

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