After days and days of bad light and no great photo ops, I finally rushed home tonight, to look at images! What a good feeling to get all excited again – to have a great day in the park, watching wolves, talking with friends, hiking, and waiting for the evening light.
First off, I want to tell you a little about Wolf World. First thing this morning Doug was able to find the Prospect Peak on Junction Butte and the Junction Butte on Specimen Ridge, just across the way. Apparently, there was a lot of howling but I missed that.
Must say that my heart sank to learn that the Prospect Peak pack had returned to Junction territory. I do believe that all of us would just like for them to go home and leave our sweet little Junction family alone. But, there they were, again.
At this point it looks obvious that least a portion, if not all, of the Prospect Peak pack wants the Junction territory. But, given the fact that the Junctions have moved off and not returned, and they are not being left alone, leaves me to wonder if there is more to this fight than new land. It almost seems as though they are out for blood.
But, to say that 870 can’t take any more is an understatement. In fact, if she survives without further fighting, it will be a miracle. She was seen closeup yesterday and I was told that her head is swollen and looks nasty, and that she is thin from not eating. My heart goes out to the girl – she is strong and doing her best but she has a long ways to go. And, she needs to be left alone.
So, Doug said that he saw 7, with three blacks and 4 grays. Rick saw 6 with one less black. I saw 5, two blacks and three grays. Doug says that the black pup was back with the pack a few days ago but no one else seems to have seen three blacks with the pack, so I am waiting for more definite sightings, just to be sure. I sure hope that he made it back and if he did that would mean that the gray pup is still missing.
The Junction Buttes spent the day on Specimen and we were able to see a couple of them most of the day. The Prospect Peak pack quickly left Junction Butte and went west just a ways where they bedded on one of the basalt cliffs. The Prospect alphas joined the group some time later. Last I heard they were all bedded in thick sage and not visible, and the Junctions had also moved out of sight.
Quite frankly, I am holding my breath to see what happens next. There is a very good chance that the Prospects will continue to advance on the Junctions, but let’s hope that my gut is wrong on this one and that they stay safe. They really don’t bother anyone and were such a happy family before this – it is a shame and I don’t see how anyone who is here and watching these wolves doesn’t get attached and involved in their lives. It is pretty tough.
So, I spent a good portion of the day watching wolves and taking a hike out Slough Creek. What a wonderful hike that was. It is considerably cooler than yesterday but still pleasant for winter in Yellowstone. The interior opens again on the 18th and there is no snow for the over snow travel – so guess that we are hoping for weather around here. Not sure I am…
And, then I headed for home but got sleepy for the first time in a week and pulled over at Blacktail for a nap. When I awoke it was with a bit of a panic to get home but then I saw the Bathroom Boys down across from the Blacktail bathroom, in a great location for some nice shots and couldn’t resist.
The elk really were quite beautiful, when they would put their heads up, which wasn’t often, even though the sky was overcast and the light wasn’t so good.
And, so I photographed this bull quite a bit because he put his head up more than the other two. But the light lacked inspiration and so the bulls only held my interest for a little while. But, I turned and checked the progress of the setting sun and determined that we might have some last minute light on the bulls. So, I went back to the car to warm up and wait.
I noticed that the bull had his head up and just a small amount of evening light touching him, so jumped out to capture what I could.
That was some exciting light with a bull that was just so so on the cooperation scale. At least he put his head up some but I never did get the exact background that I wanted. Came close but not quite.
I went home smiling tonight.