Had another lucky and exciting day with the wolves, this time with a few members of the Junction Butte pack.
Left very early, well before dawn, and headed straight out to Lamar Valley, thinking that maybe the Lamars had returned from Cache Creek when they discovered there was no food. It was snow hard and the road was fairly dangerous with several inches of wet snow and so the drive was slow.
The Lamars were indeed back in Lamar but we couldn’t find them through the snow and fog. I looked for some time but when word came out that some of the Junctions had crossed the road and some had not, I went to Little America in hopes of a rare opportunity to photography Junction Butte wolves.
People were looking and so I just got out of the car and stood on a slight hill with a good vantage point for a long, cold time. Maybe an hour or so, I waited. But, the wolves were howling and not coming our way.
Eventually, word came in that the Lamars were being seen at Coyote. The long line of speeding cars was daunting! I got there, saw buts leaving into the fog and left, as car after car arrived.
Back to Little America, I had it all to myself and kept looking for Junctions. They howled and teased but no sightings. Finally, I saw some bison running with a gray wolf chasing them. There they were! I let the crew know and called my friend Josh to tell him, but otherwise kept it very quiet. The wolves had tried to cross the road earlier and could not because of people blocking them and I didn’t want a repeat of the mad dash that had gone to the Lamars. Besides, it appears as though I have been kicked off of the official wolf finder list and so I can watch but not find. My sightings are made by “some” or “someone.” Or, wolves just appear. So, either folks can give credit where it is due or they don’t need to know! More fun this way, though I did eventually call Rick on the phone to let him know because more and more people were catching on to something happening. In the end, the wolves needed his help crossing the road but made it.
So, I stood on a hill again and waited for the wolves but they did not appear. This bison bull snuck up behind me and scared me though.
And, this beautiful male Mountain Bluebird landed on snow covered sage.
Luckily, Josh found the wolves in front of the Peregrines and alerted Rick, who stopped to let me know.
What a fine sight it was to watch them parade across the open area, in front of bison, geese, ducks and the like.
Good ole 911 came closer than the others, dragging his bad, right rear leg with him. He actually seemed to be moving better. All of these wolves looked very healthy.
And, so the group paraded in front of us, a decent distance away, watched by humans, bison and waterfowl as they went.
I then went to another location, guessing where they might cross and stood back up on my hill waiting. 911 was kind enough to come my way, barely glancing at me as he went. He ran right past and made it across the road without a problem.
Some times close is hard with the wolves when they are as light as this guy and moving fast, but to know that he chose to go on by me without any problems was an honor. He obviously did not detect a threat.
The others appeared on a hill and then went behind some hills to cross at a different location down the road. We know that the two black pups made it okay but 907 and one of the gray pups were howling away from across the river.
Meanwhile, the Lamar Canyons found a carcass and a grizzly, way off across Slough Flats. That was fun to see!
On the way home I found a fox, adding more excitement to the day.
Doesn’t get much better than this in Yellowstone!