by Judy Lehmberg, BioPics Photography, www.vernelehmberg.com (25% off sale of all photos for a limited time if you use the code “4000likes” without the quotation marks)
Deby has already told you what we know about the bear coming to the bison carcass near Canyon. We sat at the carcass for a long time yesterday and the bear finally came in around 6:00 pm. He was actually on the carcass before anyone saw him. The carcass is about 200 yards from the road in the shade so it is not easy to see with your naked eye. The grizzly is big. The carcass is a large male bison so that gives you an idea of how big. That is also why these photos aren’t the greatest, they are really cropped.
I thought the bear only stayed about 5 minutes but when I looked at my film clips, and the times they were made, I discovered he was there for almost 15 minutes. He spent most of that time reaching in to the bison’s body cavity with his front paw and pulling out various morsels. At one point it looked like he was slurping spaghetti, which was actually intestines. Tasty! Especially raw with its contents intact!
When he was ready to leave he reached in and got a big mouthful of stomach (at least 1 of its 4 stomachs) and intestines and disappeared.
We folded up are camera gear and headed home through the construction on the Norris to Mammoth road. When we got to Swan Lake Flats I spotted a pair of sandhill cranes and their 2 babies (I know they are called colts but I think that is a dumb name for a baby bird). I got my camera out and then reached for my tripod. NO TRIPOD!! My husband had left it on the ground back at the Canyon bison carcass!! I had a heart attack. That thing is unbelievably expensive. We immediately turned around and drove through the construction for the third time that day. It took us an hour to get back. I think it was the longest hour of my life. Just as we were getting close to Canyon we got within cell phone contact and I got a text from my dear friend Simon. He had my tripod and was going to stay there until 9:30 to give me time to come get it. Bless him!!! Someone had found my tripod down in the grass near the road and had given it to Nate, one of the Bear Management guys. Nate knew Simon and I were friends so he told Simon. I already knew Nate was a super nice person who knows a lot about the bears, and cares deeply about them. He had been working that bear jam all day and made the whole experience a real joy. Thank you, thank you, thank you to both Nate and Simon. Today is my birthday and you guys gave me a fantastic birthday present, friends looking out for their friends. It can’t be any better than that.
Hopefully I can find those sandhill cranes again and show you some sandhill baby photos soon.