Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Yellowstone - Part Two - Grizzly Bears continued

Later on day two of the tour, we had followed a lead to a potential wolf sighting.  A wolf was supposed to heading towards our area and a couple of people had already started gathering in preparation.  We set up our scopes, binoculars, and cameras and were scanning the treeline for the wolf. In the meantime, we had spotted a nearby badger and he became our focus of attention and paparazzi pack.  I am not content to just look in one area (especially after the bison incident which will be discussed in a later chapter) and had noticed a dark speck on the far slope in a treeline. It was a bear! I was sure of it, but I come just with my camera so I asked others with binoculars to get a better look at it. I'm busy directing others to it and they tell me it's a grizzly! A park ranger pulls up (it's now a crowd and the ranger wants to make sure we aren't doing anything stupid).  The grizzly has a radio collar and he tells us that its Scarface. (I just hope the people shooting the video on this link were in their car!) The ranger tells us that he's 23 years old (possibly the oldest known grizzly in the park) and that's he radio collared to keep track of him.  He's surpassed his lifespan and they are worried that he's going to start picking easy targets (i.e. people....gawking stupid people in crowds).  In all the hubbub, I never got a good look at him through my camera nor a photo. By the time Scarface was sighted, our group had doubled in size.  Iif you see people stopped in Yellowstone, you automatically assume it's something cool and stop as well. Like a plague! If it's a zillion people and people parked in the middle of the road, it's a bear or wolf.  If it's one or two people, it could be nothing.  At one point, we had stopped to ask a large group what they were looking at.  Turns out they were Asian landscape photographers and they could barely speak English.  I believe she said "pretty and changing light on mountains" and "snow that looks like a face."  So Yellowstone attracts all types and I like to hear the birders talk all excited about "flickers" and other common east coast birds.

On day three of the tour, we were in Lamar Valley and noticed a large group of bison running on the far side of the Lamar River.  Anytime you see something running, it is of interest because you never know what predator may be the cause.  Well behind them was a grizzly bear walking with purpose.  It was darker than the previous day's grizzly at the carcass, so it was likely a different bear.  So this continued onward, but there were two straggler bison behind the bear.  Did either of them know?  We were anxious to see what would happen with the bison caught up to the bear. 

Grizzly bear on the move.
Slowly catching up. Do the bison know what's there?

Don't mind us!  We are in the passing lane.
Well it turns out that nothing happened.  The bison continued to run in their "passing lane" and the bear paid no attention.  And that was the last grizzly bear sighting of the trip.  Although there are a couple super far shots of bears on carcasses, but I think they were all black bears. 

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