Sandhill Crane and Butterflies – Spring 2015 comes way early


Overcast and dull all day long, I believe it was supposed to rain yesterday and today but not a drop until this evening, and it has already stopped.  Something like 52 degrees in Lamar Valley but I believe that we are supposed to get a little cooler temps here soon.

In the meantime, Spring in Yellowstone is going full steam ahead.  We saw our first Sandhill Crane on the Blacktail today.  As last year, only one has arrived ahead of the others and I expect he/she will be screaming mighty loudly until the others arrive.  The bluebird population already looks larger than last year’s migration but they aren’t cooperating for photos just yet.  Large flocks can be heard coming from a long distance and then they appear and swarm over head, swooping, landing briefly and moving on.  And, I forgot to mention that I saw my first butterfly in Lamar Valley yesterday.  No green grass yet but it will come soon – just hope we get some rain or it will be short lived.

For today’s wolf action – the Junction Butte had a new bull elk carcass this morning.  It appeared as though the bull fell off of the large rock he had been standing on yesterday.  We worried some if they would get their food upon discovering that the Prospects were only a short distance away, although we couldn’t see them.  The crew found them late in the day – a few at least, less than a mile from the Junctions and their carcass.

The Lamar alpha female, 926, had returned home overnight but she remained in the den area and well hidden during the entire day.  Some of us looked and looked but no sightings.  The questions is, did she bring home a new mate.  And, I want to know if the other three pups are safe with her.  It turns out that the Mollies were still in the area while 926 was gone for two days, so it is good to know she made it home safely, but I am anxious about the others.  And, given that she went to the same general location as the Mollies, maybe, as Rick thought, she was looking for a guy.  Maybe we will have answers tomorrow.

Other than that – nothing except coyotes at the bison carcass on the Blacktail.  And, I caught some crap for photographing bison today but look at how beautiful they are and how much they are enjoying life.  The bison still have their winter coats but the ground is bare and so the wallowing holes were busy all during the day as they rolled and scratched.  A lot of bison on the road these days, kind of just wandering aimlessly.  And, very few people in the park.  Enjoying a nice lull before the season begins.

Great to see Yellowstone waking up and life become exciting with the new possibilities that spring brings us every year.

Until tomorrow,














Forgot to mention, the Pronghorn have already made it to Little America!  Another sign of early spring.  And, most of the elk that were out of the park have returned.

Pronghorn in Little America today
Pronghorn in Little America today

5 thoughts on “Sandhill Crane and Butterflies – Spring 2015 comes way early

  1. You mention ‘Little America’ fairly frequently. Where is that area located?

    Your bison pics are amazing. Great work.

    Hope you get lots of rain there for a good start to the summer grazing.

  2. Great bison photos, Deby. I certainly hope all is well with 926F and all the pups-certainly wish the Prospects and the Mollies would go somewhere else.
    Have a great spring day!

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