Updated: Jan 7, 2022
In July of this year, 2021, I took a trip with Rockjumpers, a birding tour group, to Yellowstone National Park and surrounding areas. Yellowstone was established in 1872 by Pres. Ulysses S. Grant as the world's first National Park. The park features 10,000 hydrothermal features, Old Faithful among them. The Yellowstone River is 20 miles long, 1,000 feet deep surging through a canyon. You can see prairies, grasslands, mountains, lakes, ponds and forests. The photos above are a few among the many species I had the privilege to see and photograph. I don't think you want to scroll through 2,000 pictures.
I have too many favorite photos to post including the kid goats frolicking in the field while adults were busy packing in the food. Same goes for the the Bison - calves running around while the adults were chowing down and sometimes wandering across the road, blocking traffic for however long they wanted. These are huge animals but majestic. Among the other "Bigs" were the Bears, Elk, Moose, Mountain Goats, Big Horn Sheep, Prong Horn Deer, Mule Deer and Wolves. We didn't see the wolves up close enough to photograph but saw several in the distance with their kits. One feisty female went head to head with a big bull Bison, just harassing him.
The grizzlies we spotted were higher in the mountains because it was quite hot this July. I did have a face to face encounter with the Cinnamon Black Bear seen above. I was in front of the line on a trail and coming around the corner was this bear. I just froze and stared at her. Would love to have taken her front photo but didn't want to alarm her. She was very close to me. The guide and the rest made some noise and she eventually moved off the path and we went our way. She was beautiful.
Of course, we saw a ton of birds. Some of my first looks at the species included Williamson's Sapsucker, Red-naped Sapsucker, Lewis' Sapsucker, and American Three-toed Woodpecker. Also new to me was the Mountain Plover, Plumbeous Vireo, Sprague's Pipit, Green-tailed Towhee and Northern Rough-winged Swallow. All told we got good views of 171 (or so) species of birds and 21 mammals. It was a glorious trip overall. I intend to go back in the winter of 2023 to see owls and wolves. Wolves were exterminated by the early 1920's and were not reintroduced until 1995. I believe there are 10 -12 packs currently and still controversial but I was ecstatic to see them there. For more information on the wolves see https://www.yellowstone.org/category/wildlife/wolves/ Also there is a series of books, one, "The Rise of Wolf 8:Witnessing the Triumph of Yellowstone's Underdog" by Rick McIntyre, an expert on wolves of Yellowstone who still keeps close eye on the packs today.