Mollies back in town

Mollies Pack, winter 2016
Mollies Pack, winter 2016

Guess who is back in town?

Someone told me that it was all over FB this afternoon, shortly after Bill H. discovered the Mollies on a distant hill, that the Mollies were back in Lamar so most of you probably already know of the news. There were reports of wolf watchers traveling through the park at high rates of speed to reach Lamar Valley, no doubt eager to get a look this magnificent pack.

I happened to be nearby when Bill called out that he had at least 8 wolves, he wasn’t sure but there were a lot of them, from Coyote. Having suspected that at least some Mollies had been in Lamar yesterday and that there was some sort of encounter with the Lamar Canyons, I had no doubt who had come to town for one last visit before they settle in Pelican Valley for the summer and fall.

There they were, through squiggly heat rays just east of Amethyst and near a bison bull. The wolves were bedded and so the bison thought that he would snooze also and plopped down. Instantly, the Mollies were up and on the bison but the big guy jumped back up and began chasing wolves. He was having none of their crap.

The viewing was awful and so I left. Had a chance to talk with some friends and see Picnic climb the hill towards where the bison cow gave birth yesterday. Bet she was going to check out the afterbirth if it was still there. And then went for my hike. So many of the trails still have snow, ice or mud on them and the last thing I want is to fall coming down hill so I played it safe and hiked back up to Calcite. A couple of other photographers joined me and it turned out to be real pleasant. Going up hill hurts less when you have company. The only thing we saw was a peregrine falcon and so I am assuming that we will have our nest again this year, on the other side of the river.

Mollies pack in February 2016 on Dead Puppy Hill
Mollies pack in February 2016 on Dead Puppy Hill

Then I went back out to check on the Mollies and there was quite a crowd. The heat waves had disappeared and viewing was much better. This time a bison bull was chasing the wolves. The pack moved off from where they had rested all day, except when interacting with bison, and headed west. I am assuming that they will go towards Slough where all of the elk are these days. Hundreds upon hundreds of elk. All sixteen were present again today. That is 4 generations in that pack with zero dispersals – pretty amazing. Legendary, I would think.

Meanwhile, no signals on the Lamars today though Rick did see Dark Black on the old carcass in the valley. Not sure what is going on with that guy, or that pack, but they are not as tight as they were. I am thinking that Mottled was some kind of good glue. Sure do miss him. Was told today that some folks did search for Mottled but could not find him.

I did not attempt photos of the Mollies today – they were too far and the conditions were not right.

On to the rest of the day:

Mostly, it was a slow easy, yet long, day in the park.

No wolves this morning so I went in search of Meadowlarks and was rewarded nicely in Lamar Valley where there are many filling the air with their songs.

Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark

Then Josh A. called and said he had a grizzly over by Slough and so we went that way, just in time to watch the bear’s butt as it climbed the hill in the “Bowl.”

grizzlyslough001

The Picnic bears were out again this morning and we saw a new bison calf on the other side of the road.  My hike yielded a peregrine falcon at Calcite, which was nice.  And, Josh said that there were two moose at Round Prairie.  Other than that, bison, big horns, pronghorns and elk.  Oh, and a few coyotes.  I saw one running for its life late this afternoon, in the area where the Mollies were traveling.  All are wise to get out of the way of that wolf pack.  Apparently a very large black bear boar left the Tower ranger station yesterday and traveled north.  And, there was another grizzly hanging out on Amethyst Bench this afternoon.  So, there was plenty to look at, one just had to look hard.