Day 15: Wildlife and On To The Tetons

The contrast between Yellowstone in spring and Yellowstone in fall is vast.  In spring, the wildlife are everywhere- Grizzly, Black Bear, Wolves, Coyote, Fox, Bison, Elk, Mule Deer, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Pronghorn and all their young.

In the fall my photography has to focus on the landscapes.  The wildlife are still here, but they arent as readily found.  Bison and Elk are fairly common, but the spring has spoiled me.

Spending a week in Glacier National Park renewed my appreciation for the abundance and variety of wildlife in Yellowstone.  In Glacier we were pleased to see several deer.  In contrast, my first night back in Yellowstone, driving down unlit dirt roads looking for my campsite, I was far from alone.  A grey fox hunted along the roadside; a massive bull elk stared me down til I had passed; the eyes of a family of coyotes glinted just outside the reach of my highbeams.

This morning, photographing in the mist along the banks of Yellowstone Lake, the deep bellow of a bison sounded from the nearby trees (I assume it was a bison…it could’ve been a yeti, I suppose. I’ve never heard one).   Rustling and movement could be heard from the forest and occasionally birds would fly out as if startled.  Later, in the Thumb Geyser Basin, I had to stop and wait for a bugling bull elk to finish herding his harem into the trees before I could continue on my way.

I photographed more scapes than wildlife, but the experiences made the situation much more satisfying.  I departed Yellowstone early in the morning while most visitors were still lounging in their campers.  I’m in Grand Teton National Park for the next week.  Keeping my fingers crossed for some moose photography.

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