On Sunday my husband and I had the opportunity to go on a snow coach, whose name was Rosebud, through Yellowstone Park. We have been through Yellowstone many times throughout other times of the year but never winter. We love going to Yellowstone, and the winter version did not disappoint! Seeing everything under a blanket of snow was truly beautiful. We seen abundant wildlife and had a wonderful tour guide. We used Alpen Guides based in West Yellowstone, their classic snow coaches were too cool! The oldest snow coach there has been in service since 1953….
Like I mentioned above, we were able to see abundant wildlife but the coolest of the two critters we saw were very far away. Luckily, there were spotting scopes available to look at them close up. The first critter was a male grizzly, out of hibernation in February which is very rare. He is very groggy here and a taking a nap under a tree, you probably have to use your imagination to see him here but really he is there! lol…
Two wolves sunning themselves on a distant hill. You might be able to see the whiter wolf if you squint your eyes real hard, the second one is off to the right in a bit of a hole… I had major lens envy with the people there and their huge prime lenses! lol!
We seen a lot of other critters that I’ll share later!
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The Tule Elk is the smallest of the North American elk species, the male (bull) elk weighing an average of 450 to 500 pounds (200 to 225 kg), and the female (cow) weighing between 350 to 425 pounds (150 to 200 kg). Tule Elk have a light-beige coat with a dark brown mane surrounding their neck. The rump of the Tule elk is white to a very light tan. The average length of a Tule Elk is 7 feet, and is 4 to 5 feet high at the shoulders. Similar to the Rocky Mountain Elk, a mature male Tule Elk will typically have 6 points on each of the antlers.
The Tule Elk was once known to inhabit most of central California from the east coast to the Sierra Nevada Foothills, but today the Tule Elk are primarily located in the Tule Elk State Reserve in California, which was created in 1932 to protect the once extinct animal. At one point in the Tule Elk’s history, there were 400,000 to 500,000 elk roaming free in most of California. At the low point, there may have been as few as 20 to 30. A farmer/cattleman by the name of Henry Miller was determined to save this majestic animal, which for him started in the 1870’s – 50 years before Tule Elk State Reserve was created for the preservation of this almost extinct animal. The heard in Tule Elk State Reserve population is now 2,500 to 3,000 head of elk. The State of California has also transplanted the Tule Elk into other wildlife reserves where the animal once roamed.
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My husband caught this Merlin, he even has a kill in his claws!
Merlin pairs have been seen teaming up to hunt large flocks of waxwings: one Merlin flushes the flock by attacking from below; the other comes in moments later to take advantage of the confusion.
Merlins don’t build their own nests. Instead, they take over the old nests of other raptors or crows. They also use magpie nests, sometimes laying eggs right on top of the nest’s dome rather than inside the cavity.
Though it’s not much bigger than the more common American Kestrel, the Merlin is heavier and often appears considerably larger. As with most raptors, female Merlins are larger than males.
The name “Merlin” comes from esmerillon, the old French name for the species. Merlins used to be called “pigeon hawks” because in flight they look somewhat pigeon-like. Their species name,columbarius, is also a reference to pigeons.
Medieval European noblewomen—including Catherine the Great and Mary Queen of Scots—used Merlins for sport to hunt Skylarks. European and North American falconers continue to work with Merlins, hunting quarry that ranges from sparrow-sized to dove-sized.
The oldest known Merlin was at least 11 years, 11 months old. It was banded as an adult in New York in 1982 and recovered in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1993.
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A couple weeks ago we were able to go with my husband on one of his trips and spent a couple days in Bozeman, MT. Our last day there we decided to spend an extra night and do a quick tour through Yellowstone the next day…
Here are the kiddos stretching their legs and doing a bit of balancing in Lamar Valley…
Some of the other sites around Lamar Valley…
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NWMNP Photography Club
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