After hitting the hay last night at 2:00 am, we were back up at 7:00 am. Jared returned the rental car at the Bozeman Airport and then Bill, Jared and I made our way to Yellowstone National Park. We saw three juvenile bald eagles on the way to Gardiner, MT (YNP Park North Entrance).
Within minutes of entering the Park we come across several Big Horn Sheep grazing in Gardiner Canyon. We proceeded to make our way over to Cooke City taking our time. Some bison were "running" down the road in front of us (past the bridge) , we stopped and unexpectedly ,we came across 3 mule deer in a nice forest/snow scene. A buck and 2 does.
Then we came across a crowd of wolf watchers watching a pack of wolves bedded down but they were spotting scope distance not photographable.
We continued on the Northern Range route and came across more bison (lots of bison around) grazing, bedded down, and a few sparing. Just past Slough Creek, a lone coyote was trotting down the road towards us. He had a lots of blood around his mouth and under his chin. He veered right and started rolling in the snow trying to "wash off" the blood... We deduced there must be a fresh carcass close by , so we went up the road and sure enough, there were 6 long lenses manned by the road on the right side of the road pointed up to the hillside on the left. There was a fresh bull elk carcass there. In speaking with the photographers, the elk was alive the day before but found dead this morning. This photography bonanza didn't last long as the rangers put up signs and shooed the photographers away this afternoon.
We continued on and ran into another coyote coming down the road towards us (by the entrance sign of Lamar Valley). We see yet another lone coyote out in the vast Lamar Valley hunting to survive as well. We saw some big horn sheep by the Confluence and more bison plus yet another beautiful coyote....these guys are gorgeous in winter!
We continued our tour through Lamar Valley. The beauty of the pristine snow in the Valley was breathtaking...
We were photographing some bison and I hear a bald eagle cry...I looked around and there were 4 bald eagles in tree behind me in the middle of Lamar Valley with nice light. We were able to photograph some big horn sheep rams in beautiful light (see pic posted in the blog post). A photographer told me they were photographing these rams (about 30 minutes before we arrived) and he said some wolves started howling across the Lamar Valley. He said the rams really perked up and listened intently to the wolves howling.
Our drive from Lamar Valley to Cooke City was a winter wonderland beauty!
We then saw two red foxes and got some nice images of one of them. The other one eluded us.
We had a pizza in Cooke CIty for dinner and we will be back at it at 6:00 am Monday morning.
Overall, a good day! 5 more days to go....