Friday, October 19, 2012

Yellowstone: September, 2012 Chapter 3

Day 3: Saturday, Sept. 29th 7:30 AM. Though we got off to a relatively late start on this particularly cold morning (23 Degrees), we immediately located Rick's yellow Nissan X-terra and an exponentially increasing number of wolfwatchers near the Lamar Valley Trailhead. Using radio telemetry, Rick told us that he was receiving strong signal from the Lamar Pack to the north of the highway, and could only guess if anybody would get to see them or not. With this information we climbed to the top of the hill overlooking the highway and set up my tripod in a spot where I could see several openings near the tree about 500 yards away in the opposite direction. We dared not venture closer, as the wolves could truly be anywhere and a surprise encounter in not something one should risk. We sat and watched the openings in the timber and scanned the rolling hills leading up to them; searching the sagebrush for any sign of wolf activity. Then it happened: not five minutes after we posted up did I see a figure, barely taller than the grass, trotting straight toward me through the opening in the trees I had trained my camera on. I leapt up and began frantically making adjustments to my camera, which was still off. By the time I had focused on the spot where I spotted the small, gray colored wolf, she had turned and gone. Thirty seconds later, a second wolf came into view; a small black individual, about the size of a coyote, trotted hurriedly across the field and into the trees to join the other pup(s) near their den. The light was low, and the wolf pup was far away, but I managed to at least get photographic evidence of his/her existence. Three low quality photographs are all I have to show for this particular sighting. Despite this, we were ecstatic to be the only humans to have see those pups that day, and were even more excited to be able to share the location, time, appearance, and behavior of those two wolves with the Wolf Project's lead biological technician and his nifty voice recorder. Few things are more gratifying than contributing to science, except maybe a breakfast of scrambled eggs and elk sausage.

No comments:

Post a Comment