Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Winter, winter, winter

I returned from six beautiful days in Yellowstone on Monday night, my travel sandwiched between a winter snow storm in Montana and a winter snow storm in Chicago. The Park can certainly use the snow and in fact should be colder than it has been as well so the normal variation of seasons will be maintained. However, the warmer temperatures - the lowest my rental car thermometer ever registered was +14 degrees Fahrenheit - made outdoor activity an easy pleasure. Wildlife sightings included many, many bison that are doing well in the mild winter, somewhat fewer elk than usual (apparently also because of the weather they have not come down into valleys like Lamar in large numbers), mule deer in Gardiner and points north, golden and bald eagles, one trumpeter swan, numbers of dippers (water ouzels), goldeneyes, many mallards and Canada geese, red squirrels, a gorgeous silver fox, coyotes as always, bighorn rams at the confluence of the Lamar River and Soda Butte Creek, and a wonderful long tailed weasel in winter white (aka ermine). The Druid Peak wolf pack was very active and visible on the days I was out looking. As I process my photos over the next few days I will post specific reports here.

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