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Author Topic: Chech out west 2019  (Read 4585 times)
Chechem
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« on: May 20, 2019, 05:36:48 AM »

Iím in Cody WY this morning after two long days on the toad, dodging thunderstorms and worse. Yesterday I drove in snow, large wet flakes, from Casper WY all the way to Cody. None on the road was a bother.

Late yesterday, just before dark, I started seeing lots of wildlife near the road. I was an hour southeast of Cody. Several mule deer crossed ahead of me once, and I flashed my lights to warn an oncoming pickup. Then I saw a herd of elk grazing along the roadside. The area is mountainous, but good two-lane highway. I was making good time, going the speed limit: 70. To my right from an open area I saw two pronghorn (antelope).  Iíd chatted with NALT earlier about seeing so many. But these two were racing toward me through the snow, one male chasing another. I could see they were coming at me full speed, and no way could I stop or dodge. The chaser had its mouth agape with exhaustion. I hit the brakes, swerved to the right, and all my gear behind me slide against the front seats. I missed the chasing pronghorn by inches, and would have hit them both had I not swerved. Wow. The lead one rammed into a fence to my left (canít they jump?). I pulled over to recover. No other cars came by. Wow.

Iíll be traveling the next two days, staying in Cooke City Montana while watching bears and wolves, so I canít post pics yet.

Iíll post them when I get to West Yellowstone on Wednesday.
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2019, 08:40:05 AM »

My brother Mrs Dottie and I look forward to your trip with the pics. RTR!
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2019, 05:51:51 AM »

Saw nine bears yesterday and got some pics. Iíll post them when I get to my motel tomorrow night or Thursday. Lots of snow here; some still falling. But yesterday had periods of warm sunshine, and I got sunburn. More later.
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2019, 10:32:27 AM »

Saw nine bears yesterday and got some pics. Iíll post them when I get to my motel tomorrow night or Thursday. Lots of snow here; some still falling. But yesterday had periods of warm sunshine, and I got sunburn. More later.



Ten Bears little brother?
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2019, 12:15:31 PM »

Saw nine bears yesterday and got some pics. Iíll post them when I get to my motel tomorrow night or Thursday. Lots of snow here; some still falling. But yesterday had periods of warm sunshine, and I got sunburn. More later.



Ten Bears little brother?
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2019, 05:13:28 AM »

Love that movie with 10 Bears.  

Tuesday in Yellowstone:
Got an update from Jamos. They will be here next week to see the sights. Woot.

Tuesday the bear total went up to 19. Seems like theyíre everywhere. Seldom are they close; mostly high up on mountainsides.  But with a spotting scope they seem easy to find. I watched 3 at once yesterday, all adults, high up on Specimen Mountain.

Also a good wolf day. Saw three of the Junction Pack, two at an elk carcass and another moving along the Lamar River. Hours of sitting, waiting, and then watching. I visited with the wolf biologists yesterday too and got updates on wolf puppies for this season. Thanks to the wolf watchers I get daily updates on wolf locations.

Had close encounters with bison (from my car mostly). They were at times within armsí reach from my window. No, I didnít.

Saw lots of nesting birds and took photos of peregrine falcon nests, sandhill cranes, and owls. Didnít take pics of the osprey and eagle nests. Yíall saw them last year.

Time to get going. Iíll go back and add pics into each dayís entry when I get to better WiFi tonight and tomorrow. Until then use your imaginations.

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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2019, 07:27:10 AM »

That is really cool about the bison.  I might have reached out if they were that close... Embarrassed  Also, biologist from Auburn University Raptor's Center claim that the peregrine falcon are native to north Alabama and that there are still some here. But I have never seen any in the wild.  I would love to but...it really isn't' up to me...
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2019, 09:29:53 PM »

That is really cool about the bison.  I might have reached out if they were that close... Embarrassed  Also, biologist from Auburn University Raptor's Center claim that the peregrine falcon are native to north Alabama and that there are still some here. But I have never seen any in the wild.  I would love to but...it really isn't' up to me...

You're not riding with me!   
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2019, 09:42:05 PM »

PHOTO ESSAY OF THE FIRST FEW DAYS OF THE TRIP:

Sunday:
Driving through Nebraska City, Nebraska was an adventure.  I-29 was closed for a month due to floods.  Hwy 2 from I-29 to Lincoln NE was under water until 3 days before I left for the trip.  The good workers of Nebraska built the road up by lining the highway with concrete barriers, then dumping gravel and rock to build the road up 3' higher.  Here are pics showing the road through my windshield at daybreak:





Later that day I passed along the Oregon Trail, which followed the Platte River across Nebraska and Wyoming.  The pioneers periodically gathered along good water, such as Ash Hollow, NE.  The old wagon ruts are still visible there; it's a state park now.  Wagons were lowered along the hill by a hand winch, called a windlass.  The hill is "Windlass Hill":




Closeup so you can see the winding ruts down the hill.

Farther along the Oregon Trail, in Wyoming, the pioneers were guided by Chimney Rock.  It's a funky mountain that you can see from 15-20 miles.  Here's my pic from a moving car, and one from the internet:



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« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2019, 09:50:49 PM »

Monday I drove from Cody WY to Cooke City, Montana.

To get to Cooke City, in the Rocky Mountains, I took the Chief Joseph Highway.  But it was cold, snowing, and slippy.  Beautiful though.  I saw 3 bears and lots of snow.










This pic shows how far away these big bears were.  A telephoto lens is your friend.

Monday afternoon I went into Yellowstone and found some good critters:




Baby bison are called "red dogs".

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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2019, 09:57:39 PM »

Tuesday May 21st was a huge day for me.  I found wolves and lots of bears, etc:




Bighorn Sheep ewes.


Mama black bear and her 3 cubs.


Bear on left swatted bear on right, and left a gash on her nose.


I saw 4 moose on Tuesday.


Great Horned Owl on nest.


NALT's Peregrine Falcon on nest (3 eggs).


Sandhill Crane on nest.


Wet wolf (it swam the Lamar River) wearing a tracking collar.
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Chechem
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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2019, 10:10:26 PM »

Wednesday May 22 was a loooooong day.  I got up at 3am, saw a fox asleep on the sidewalk of the Cooke City bakery, and was in the park before sunup.  I parked along the road where I'd seen the wolf the previous day.  The wolves had killed an elk there, and part of the carcass was still along the Lamar River.


A yearling wolf from the Junction Butte Pack showed up within an hour.  It chased away the ravens and eagles there and ate its fill.  It was wet in this pic, so it looks ratty.


See the antlers?  This elk was killed earlier in the winter, and was buried by ice and snow in the river.  Melting exposed it again.






Here it is nice and dry the previous day.


Saw several bears, like this grizzly, but all pretty far away.


This grizzly had 2 cubs.  They were all beautiful, but it was very windy and blowing snow.  I couldn't get close enough for a better pic.  Maybe tomorrow.  I've seen 25 bears now (3 days).

I drove 50 miles across the park during the afternoon to West Yellowstone, checked into my motel, then went back into the park.  I'd seen an elk carcass along the Madison River.  There was a bald eagle on it, so I camped out there in the cold and snow flurries until I was too cold to stay longer.  But I saw some good critters:


Juvenile Bald Eagle


Spotted Sandpiper


Finally this guy showed up and ate for an hour.  That's the head of the elk on the bank behind him (top left).  This is probably the prettiest coyote in Wyoming.

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« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2019, 06:57:49 AM »

Those are awesome pics Chech.  Ecred for sharing...
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« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2019, 07:17:47 AM »

Thanks for sharing, Chech.  Enjoy the snow.  We're looking at near record temps in the SE this weekend.
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« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2019, 08:43:45 AM »

  Thank you Chechem. I surely enjoyed these pics it just reminds me of how beautiful God's creation really is. Be safe on the roads and we look forward to you getting back. I hope you have some fish to show us during your trip. RTR!
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