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Best of the Tetons

May Western Tanager

May 2014 in Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole

A monthly journal of wildlife reports, scenic opportunities, and tidbits for both photographers and Teton visitors!

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Wildlife Reports: Current May Report and Archived Reports

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May Photos and Reports:

Hello Best of the Tetons readers. Instead of trying to make a post daily for May, I’ll try giving an overview of the month and then fill in with a few Outings Reports and Photos throughout the month.

Quick Commercial!: If you are interested in a photo trip to the Amazon, Iceland, Africa, Salmon River, or even Yellowstone, check out Perfect Light Camera & Supply. Of course, they have plenty of equipment and accessories.

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May Overview:

Web_StringLake_May1May is a transitional month for most of Jackson Hole. April definitely kicks off the change from Winter to Spring, but May is the month in which the valley floor actually begins to look and feel like Spring. Most of the elk, bison and wintering Pronghorns will have left the National Elk Refuge and are often well on their way to their summer homes. Wolves and other predators become more active and generally follow the prey animals. May 1st marks the opening of the Teton Park Road from the Taggart Lake Trailhead Parking Area to the gate just south of Signal Mountain Lodge.

Winter snow will still cover much of the area around Jenny Lake and String Lake.  Jackson Lake will thaw and eventually clear. I always like the bright green leaves of May on the Aspens. Around the valley, merchants prepare for the upcoming tourists. Old West Days over the Memorial Day weekend kick off the summer season. Check out the Wildlife Reports:  for more specifics. With the snow pack at high elevations at 140% of normal, there are forecasts of high water and possible flooding in some areas along the Snake River. Bison  cows will be dropping their “red dogs” in the first couple of weeks of May. It’s always a treat to see them, especially when they are in the Arrowleaf Balsom Root plants of mid-May.  By late May, some of the Moose cows give birth, followed by the Elk and Pronghorns in early June.

Noteworthy Openings:

Major Road Opening Dates:

  • Teton Park Road — May 1
  • Yellowstone South Entrance  May 9, 2014: South Entrance to Lake; West Thumb to Old Faithful; Tower to Tower Fall. Note: Lake to East Entrance opens May 2.

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What’s Hot? — Wildlife Highlights

2013BabyBisonBaby Bison: Watch for these little “red dogs” next to their mother along the Gros Ventre Road, along Mormon Row, and along Antelope Flats Road. Another herd moves farther north and you might see them along the highway at Elk Flats. This shot was taken a couple of years ago, but they are being born as of the middle of May. Soon, you might get the babies in fields of yellow flowers, too.  The fields are turning green right now, too.

Web_GrizzlyOnSnow_April26Grizzly Bears have been out of their dens for a while. The newspaper did a story about 399 and two of her cubs showing up at Oxbow Bend. Grizz 399 Makes Spring Appearance. 760 has been roaming around the area. 610 recently showed up with a single of cub of the year (COY). No news of “Blondie”.  Other grizzlies have been spotted around the Moose Visitors Center complex and on the Teton Village Road.

May Western TanagerBy the middle of May, I am seeing Bullock’s Orioles, Western Tanagers, American Goldfinches, Lazuli Buntings, and Black-headed Grosbeaks.  Evening Grosbeaks and Cedar Waxwings souldn’t be too far behind.  By the Memorial Day Weekend, the bulk of the colorful songbirds should be around the valley floor before heading on north. This is one of my favorite times of the year!

Web_MigratingElkCrossingRiver_Apr30Elk, Bison, Pronghorns and Bighorns  have moved off the National Elk Refuge as of Memorial Day. Most are now out of the area and into their summer locations along the snake and in the back country. Elk can be seen very early in areas north of Blacktail Butte. Moose are in the river bottoms. Look for a pair of bulls now staying under and around the Snake River Bridge at Moose. A few moose cows are calving around the valley, though I haven’t been able to find them.

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What’s Hot? — Scenic Highlights

Web_StringLake_May1Spring! Some areas are still snow covered, but many other areas are turning bright green and lush. Watch for baby animals soon. Also, the first of the Arrowleaf Balsom Root plants will begin to show soon in many areas of the valley floor. Balsom Root flowers are now common along the Snake River sage areas south of town. A friend sent me photos of some Shooting Star flowers he took around the area recently. I see more Low Larkspur lately. It is too early for the Lupines and Indian Paintbrush in most areas.

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This Weeks New Feature Post: Summer in the Tetons and Jackson Hole.

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Artists and Sculptors

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May Outings:

May 29, 2014

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National Elk Refuge and Sleeping Indian: I took this shot Wednesday afternoon from East Gros Ventre Butte. Flat Creek winds through the Refuge, with a different perspective of Miller Butte. There was a milky haze in the valley when I was out. This shot should also give you an idea of the bright green grass and trees during early summer.

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Lazuli Bunting:  So far this year, I haven’t seen any Evening Grosbeaks or Cedar Waxwings.

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Young Clark’s Nutcracker: The pink at the back of the beak is a sign of a baby Clark’s Nutcracker. The same are on an adult is black. The young Nutcrackers are almost the same size as the adults when they fledge. Magpies fledged at about the same time. The tail feathers on Magpie young are quite a bit shorter than an adult.

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Today in JH: This Gray Catbird has been coming to my house for quite a few years. Today, he posed for me like never before. Gray Catbirds make a “meow” sound, along with numerous other songs. I was worried all of the songbirds had migrated onward and north, but I had a good turnout today.

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May 28, 2014

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Summer Sunrise:

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You know it’s summer when….

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Find a spot, take your shot!

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Morning Aspens from a gopher’s perspective

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Summer Wildflowers: (Click the image to see it larger) If you mill around, you can now find patches of wildflowers.

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Purple Lupines near the Snake River

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May Pole of Turkey Vultures

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Cow Moose sporting her new summer coat.

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May 27, 2014

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New Pair of Moose Babies: Not much of a photo, but it shows some new arrivals to the valley.

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Tree Swallow:

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Blanket of Yellow: I’d suspect Dandilions fall into the same category as Starlings for most people. They are now common around much of the valley.

Tuesday Comments: Summer is here! Summer in the Tetons and Jackson Hole. Wildflowers are starting to appear, especially in the south end of the valley. We had lots of tourists over the weekend, many of which will thin out for a week or so before the main summer group arrives.  For people hoping to see moose, there are a couple of them hanging out now under the Snake River bridge at Moose. I’ve always called them Lewis and Clark…and always together.

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Four Day Old Moose:

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Northern Flicker Male:

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Monday May 26th: Memorial Day

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Alpenglow: I was up very early this morning to capture this sunrise image.

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Just the Grand Tetons:

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Rim Lit Baby Bison:

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New Feature Post: Summer in the Tetons and Jackson Hole

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Sunday May 25th: Memorial Day Weekend

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I was out early and shot a lot!

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Early Light and Clouds at the Murphy Barn:

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Early Morning Jumper:

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A Grand Pair of Bison:

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Reflections Where You Can Find Them:

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Down and Not So Dirty: Using a CamRanger

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Old Head Gate: Using a CamRanger

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First of the Balsom Root Flowers : Using a CamRanger and my newly serviced Nikon D800. There are quite a few Balsom Root plants showing now, some of which have a flower or two. Occasionally, I see a full bouquet of flowers in a single plant. It’s still a bit early, but I expect to see quite a few within the week. Stay tuned!

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Vixen and Three of Four Kits: D4 and 200-400

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iPhone Toting Youngsters: At Mormon Row.

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Coyote Pups: D4 and 200-400mm at Mormon Row.

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Yellow-bellied Marmot: Nikon D4 and 200-400mm

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Last Evening’s Passing Storm: I took this one late in the day yesterday, but didn’t download it until today. I was hoping for lightning or a rainbow when I went out.

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Threatening Clouds: Also from last evening. I only heard a few distant clashes of thunder.

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Summer is Here! The Stage Coach Ride and nightly JH Shootout are just two of the indicators Summer is really here.

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Saturday May 24th: Memorial Day Weekend

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Honor Guard opening the 2014 the Old West Days Parade.

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Mountain Men (and Women) in the Parade. They can be seen at the Fairgrounds through Monday with Trader’s Row and all the characters.

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Decked out Fire Truck in the Parade.

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Another Parade: At the John Moulton Barn before sunrise.

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Red Dogs: Taken before sunlight hit the valley floor from Antelope Flats Road.

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Friday, May 23rd, 2014:

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Quick Trip to Yellowstone: On the way up, I stopped at Jackson Lake for this traditional shot. I’d have like clouds, but calm water was nice.

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Great Gray Owl on the Moose-Wilson Road: A tight crop of a distant subject.

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Mid-day shot of Old Faithful Lodge:

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Interior Shot of the Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone:

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Baby Bison: Along Antelope Flats Road in GTNP late in the day.

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May 22, 2014

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Western Tanager: This is one of about 5 males I had in the yard today.

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Bullock’s Oriole: This is one of a couple of males and four or five females hanging around. He’s quick! Some of the blackbirds have been arriving, including quite a few Brown-headed Cowbirds and Brewer’s Blackbirds. Today, I saw the first Common Grackle.

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Green-tailed Towhee: This bird resembled a Chipping Sparrow with the distinctive rusty brown head, but it had me stumped. Paul Gore and Richard Pontius identified it as a Green-tailed Towhee. I don’t guess they are uncommon, but I had never seen one here. This isn’t a great photo, but it was good enough for them to help me identify it. Paul described them as: ” GT Towhee are furtive, ground feeders, and very active at dusk after light fails.”

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Caliope Hummingbird: This female is smaller than the Broad-tailed and Rufous Hummingbirds. They are much more quiet, too. At this time of the year, I just capture them with available light, waiting for them to stop for a second as they pull away from the feeder. Later in the year, I set up strobes as seen on this page: The Teton’s Tiny Winged Visitors

My Priorities: Just in case you are wondering, I tend to stay in the back yard a lot this time of the year and concentrate on the migrating songbirds. Birds may or may not be your personal priority? If not, please bare with me! I still like to get out and photograph other areas of the park, but I like this little window of time and I look forward to it all Spring. But, really there’s more to it! Migrating songbirds coincide with a period of time in the park when things are generally still brown and gray. During this time, many of the mammals are shedding their fur and can look quite “rough”. I already caught the last of the winter shots around String Lake and Jenny Lake, and earlier, I caught the snow hanging around the Mormon Row barns. Like other “windows of opportunity”, I know I have to concentrate on them or miss them.  About the time the songbirds move on through, the valley floor in the park starts turning vivid green and we see a few wildflowers. And about that time, we start seeing baby moose, deer, and elk. I have friends that spend a huge part of their year trying to photograph the grizzlies around the Tetons. I typically spend a few days trying to get a shot or two, but I prefer to diversify my subject matter. I am not saying I am right and they are wrong, but maybe this paragraph can supply some insights to the bird shots I take this time of the year.

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May 21, 2014

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Mormon Row at Sunrise: I headed out today with “plans or hopes” of seeing baby bison. I found lots of bison north of Kelly, but I didn’t see the babies. A few clouds were lingering over the barns, so I went there for a few shots.

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First Rays of Light at the John Moulton Barn:

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Reflections of the Teton Range: Calm winds and a mirror reflection.

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Gros Ventre River Bottom: I pulled over and took this image out the window to show the status of the new leaves on the aspens. Cottonwoods in the area are still several days behind.

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Gros Ventre Crossing: The river is swollen and muddy, but that didn’t deter this bull from crossing it.

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Moose in Early Velvet: Taken not long after this moose crossed the Gros Ventre. My wife told me she saw a baby moose near the bike path in Wilson yesterday.

Harbinger of Summer

Harbinger of Summer: Okay…I know this isn’t much of a photo, but I took it to show the first blooms of an Arrow Leaf Balsom Root plant. They will soon cover much of the valley floor around Kelly. There also a few nearby  Low Larkspur flowers in bloom along the Gros Ventre.

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May 20, 2014

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First Light at the John Moulton Barn:

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Light on the Barn: I hung around until the sun poked through the clouds in the east and hit the face of the barn.

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Elk Passing the T.A. Moulton Barn: Taken with a 200-400mm lens from Antelope Flats road

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Back Yard Birding: I have at least three female Bullock’s Oriole and it looks like a couple of males. I saw my first Chipping Sparrows yesterday. Today, I saw a male and female Lazuli Bunting. I expect more of them soon. Yesterday, I saw my first female Western Tanager. Cedar Waxwings usually pass through right after Memorial Day.

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Transport: This afternoon, my resident Red Squirrel showed up carrying six baby squirrels, one at a time,  to the big tree trunk in my back yard. The first one caught me off guard, but once I saw what was going on, I got set up and was able to capture a few of them.

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May 19, 2014

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Male American Goldfinch: I haven’t seen many of these in a week or two.

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Male Black-headed Grosbeak: This one had some patchy areas on his head. Some of them are solid black. I had some nice early gold light this morning. Right now, I am concentrating on capturing Bullock’s Orioles. They usually come in first and leave much sooner than I’d prefer. I haven’t seen the big wave of Western Tanagers yet this year.

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May 18, 2014

I took a chance and got up early today, filled up the truck and headed north.  I haven’t been out in a while! I drove up to an area near Lost Creek Ranch (a few miles east of of Snake River Overlook) where I spent the morning. While it was mostly cloudy in the East I could see a thinner layer of clouds in front of the rising sun.  I had good clouds over the Teton Range. All I had to do was wait.

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Tetons at Sunrise: (click this image to see it much larger)

  • Shooting Data: NIKON D4, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 24 mm, 1/50 at f/8, Aperture priority Mode, 1 EV,  ISO 100, ©2014 All Rights Reserved. My D800 is at the repair shop!

Field Trip Report: Most of the elk I saw were north of Blacktail Butte, moving slowly north. I saw a few Bison near the Gros Ventre. Most of the snow has melted from the flats of the valley floor with patches of snow in the ravines. The Tetons still have a lot of snow. The rivers are running high and muddy, including the Gros Ventre. As I was driving to this spot before sunrise, I saw half a dozen bull Elk with velvet covered antlers about 12″ long. They were amazingly spooky as I drove by them. It was too dark to take a photo.

Schwabacher Landing: Construction to close Schwabacher for 6 weeks via the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

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Yellow-rumped Warbler: I’d hope to get better shots of this little warbler someday. I had to shoot through some branches to capture this one this morning. They tend to stay on the far side of the willows and towards the ground. At least I managed to document seeing one this year.

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Broad-tailed Hummingbird: I had a great day at home today. This little peanut sized bird stopped and posed in mid-air for quite a while with his gorget lit up by the evening light. There are numerous hummers at the feeders today including a few Calliope hummingbirds. I haven’t seen any Rufous Hummingbirds so far. I culled through around 2000 images from today and am backing them up before heading for bed.

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May 17, 2014

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Last night, I checked the weather report for today. It was supposed to be partly cloudy. When I woke up at 3:30 am, it was partly cloudy. I planned on going somewhere north for the sunrise, so I set the alarm. At 5:00 am, it was overcast and raining lightly. Back to bed! When I got up, I saw half a dozen Bullock’s Orioles all over the back yard.

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Male Bullock’s Oriole: There were at least three brightly colored males and several females today. While waiting around, I saw an Osprey fly over, a couple of Yellow Warblers fly through and a Yell0w-rumpded Warbler on the back edges of the willows.

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Male Lazuli Bunting: These are about the size of a Dark-eyed Junco, but are much more colorful. This one is still changing to his breeding colors. I don’t think it takes too long.

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Male Western Tanager: In most years, the Orioles arrive a few days ahead of the first Tanagers. I’ve only had one in the back yard at a time since May 5.

Springtime: If you have been reading this post, you can see quite a few shots of birds in my back yard. You’ll probably notice more green in the shots now. Our grass is growing, but we haven’t needed to mow it yet. Many of the golden willows are starting to show good color and many stands of aspens are beginning to glow with their springtime lime green color.

Today in Jackson Hole: The annual Antler Auction is going on downtown today. It is overcast, but not raining as I write this post.

Schwabacher Landing: Construction to close Schwabacher for 6 weeks via the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

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May 16, 2014

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Black-headed Grosbeak, Female Northern Flicker, Blue Jay, & Bullock’s Oriole
It seems each day brings in a new species of bird. The Black-headed Grosbeak stayed back most of the time. It sometimes takes them a while to adjust to the surroundings. Skies are overcast—perfect for back yard bird photography! I’ve seen more hummingbirds at my house this year than other years, too. Other recent arrivals include Brewer’s Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cow Birds, Lazuli Buntings, Yellow Warblers, and a Wren or two. Today, I had at least six Clark’s Nutcrackers at one time. I am guessing the females are now leaving the nest for food, along with the males.

Afternoon:

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Goslings: Taken at the pond just north of the Visitor’s Center at the North edge of Jaackson

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Huddled Goslings:

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Female Yellow-headed Blackbird: Also taken north of the Visitor’s Center.

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May 15, 2014

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First sighting of the year of a Yellow Warbler.

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First Lazuli Bunting of the Year:

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Western Tanager: After this one flew off, I trimmed some of the distracting branches. It should make the next shots better if one lands on the same branch.

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May 14, 2014

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I saw a couple of Western Tanagers in the back yard last evening, but didn’t see any today. Lots of Clark’s Nutcrackers were here today…at least five, maybe more. My wife put out more oranges while I was gone, so I’d expect to see more Tanagers and Orioles soon. I am anxious, but it still might be too early.

Yellowstone is still quite snow covered! I am not sure whether the snow pack is having much to do with, but many of the side roads are closed. That’s the same here in the Tetons. Maybe it’s easier to just close an area than patrol it? I spoke with a few people along the Yellowstone River telling me of seven or more grizzlies patrolling it. I saw a post on Yellowstone.net about the grizzly sow and three cubs along the Gibbon River. I didn’t see the normal “bear watchers” here in the Tetons as I drove through, so either they are taking a break or were up some road like Pacific Creek.

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Clark’s Nutcracker in a “Peanut Wreath”.Clark’s Nutcrackers love peanuts. They eat safflower seeds and suet, too, but will go to the peanuts first.

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Acrobat: Clark’s Nutcrackers are always good for a show.

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May 11-13, 2014 – Yellowstone & Cody:

The South Entrance opened on Friday, May 9. On Sunday, I headed through the park to get to Cody to photograph mustangs.  At Fishing Bridge, I drove on North to the area near LeHardy Rapids, then on to Mud Volcano to take a chance on seeing some of the Grizzlies along the Yellowstone River. I only saw the one at Mud Volcano and missed two other chances to see them.

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Morning at Lewis Falls

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Grizzly at Mud Volcano

The parking area at Mud Volcano was closed to human traffic and all vehicles. The west side of the river all along the LeHardy Rapids area is closed to human entry. Two or three bison carcasses were in the river in that area, attracting seven to nine grizzlies. If there are Harlequin Ducks at the Rapids, no one will get to photograph them for a while.

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Wild Mustangs:

These mustangs were taken east of Cody, Wy. at McCullough Peaks horse management area. I didn’t get a chance to go to the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center, Lovell Wyoming this trip.

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Mustangs on Edge

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The Water Hole

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Stallions Waiting Their Turn

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Stallions: The BLM has been darting the mares with PZP to prevent them from having foals. That program is “working”. I didn’t see any foals of the year and only a couple of yearlings.

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Grizzly Near Yellowstone River

On the way home, I retraced my path along the Yellowstone and found this one in the Hayden Valley north of Trout Creek.

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On the Bank of the Yellowstone

This big grizzly was near LeHardy Rapids.

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Leaving the Yellowstone River

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Grizzly on Snow Bank

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Grizzly Near Fishing Bridge Junction

This young Grizzly was along the road between Fishing Bridge Junction and the Lake Hotel Junction.

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Griz Portrait

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Afternoon at Lewis Falls

I shot this with a variable neutral density filter with bright sunlight. It allowed me to let the water appear to flow.

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Lewis River

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Lodge Pole Pine at Lewis Falls Pullout

Photographed with a 14-24mm wide angle lens.

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May 10, 2014

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We had thick, low clouds and occasional rain this morning. I waited until after lunch to go north. I did a the loop to Oxbow Bend, then up to Colter Bay and Leek’s Marina hoping to see a bear. Nothing! I didn’t take a photo until I drove to String Lake where I took this shot of Teewinot as it cleared for only a few minutes.

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Snag in String Lake: I used my Nikon D4 and Nikon 200-400mm lens to isolated this snag at the outlet on String Lake.

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Harrison Crandall’s Original Photo Studio: I recently created a feature post about Harrison Crandall. His studio was moved to the Jenny Lake area and is now used as the Jenny Lake Visitor Center. I stopped there to take a few shots of the building and the historic plaques near the door. Here’s a link to the post: Harrison R. Crandall – The Park’s First Official Photographer.

May 8, 2014

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American Goldfinch: This male came around looking for Nyjer seeds (thistle) this morning.

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Western Tanager – Male:

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Black-billed Magpie on a Golden Willow: This image shows how some of the trees are starting to show the Spring leaves.

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Mountain Chickadee:

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Red Squirrel on a Tree Stump:

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Hairy Woodpecker: Keeping an eye on a Raven passing overhead.

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May 6 at Home: Aside from the dark morning skies, I have a lot to do around the house today. I set up the D4 and 200-400mm in my blind and only had to wait a few minutes to see my first Bullock’s Oriole of the year. It was a beautiful orange male, too. It was attracted to the hummingbird feeder, despite having lots of orange slices around.

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Male Bullock’s Oriole: My first of the year.

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Black-billed Magpie: These birds are difficult to photograph.

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There are lots of Robins in the valley. They just started coming to feeders and the branches.

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Current Back Yard Setup: I brought out the D800 and a 14-24mm lens for a quick shot to document the current setup. I installed the 2×4 above the feeding areas yesterday. It allows me to put hanging feeders at any point. The feeders are slightly out of the frame when a bird lands on a perch.

Other Birds: Along with the birds I already mentioned, I had quite a few White-capped Sparrow, a few Brewer’s Blackbirds, and the normal Cassin’s Finches, Nutcrackers, Chickadees, Pine Siskens, and Sparrows.

Afternoon in the Back Yard:

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Western Tanager (Male): This might be the same Tanager I saw yesterday. Hard to say.

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Hairy Woodpecker (Male):

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Cinco de Mayo At Home: Skies were cloudy at 4:45am. I went back to bed and waited to shoot in the back yard. A while back, I heard a report of Bullock’s Orioles in Saratoga, WY.  I put out some oranges for them when they arrive here. This morning, I had a bright yellow visitor—but it wasn’t an Oriole!

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Western Tanager: This male is an early bird! I am sure more will follow and I’ll get better images, but at least I got a few record shots today. Here’s a post with lots of Western Tanagers:

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Brewer’s Blackbird …Another first for today. This one has only one leg but it doesn’t seem to be slowing it down. I also saw my first back yard Wren this morning, but didn’t get shots.

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Wintering Bluejay: This bird is out of its normal range. It seems content to feed on the peanuts I put out all winter. Hopefully, it will hang around all summer, too.

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Early Broad-tailed Hummingbird: Orioles like sugar water, but don’t do well with regular Hummingbird feeders. I take the yellow “bug screens” off one or two feeders so the Orioles can feed on them. I put out one feeder for the Bullock’s Orioles today, hoping one or two will show up soon. It seems early, but this little Broad-tailed Hummingbird visited the feeder for some sugar water. This feeder is just above a perch I anticipate an Oriole will land on soon, but the feeder is much higher than I’d place it for an actual shot of a bird going to it.

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May 4 Outing: When I left the house, I had hopes of an “epic” sunrise. There were dark clouds behind the Tetons and open skies in the East. By the time I made it to String Lake, the clouds were starting to get thick in the East, filling in at about the time I should have had great morning light.

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Mt. Moran from String Lake: You can see the hints of morning color in the clouds in the upper right. I got up at 4:30 am to be there at the right time.

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Cathedral Group: I was hoping for purples and pinks, then “screaming gold” light on the peaks this morning.

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Mt. Moran at Oxbow Bend: I stopped to take this shot because of the dark cloud behind Mt.Moran. Again, light was drab most of the morning.

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Ruffed Grouse: I heard this guy thumping on a hollow log and eventually found him. Their head remains amazingly still while they are flapping their wings. Soft light actually helped this shot.

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Snake River Overlook: One Boar was hanging around Willow Flats. After spending part of the morning looking and waiting for the bear to get close to the road, I headed on home. A band of soft light was starting to hit the Grand so I pulled into the parking area at Snake River Overlook and took a few shots.

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Mule Deer: I found three or four Mule Deer near the Moose Visitor’s Center. I saw quite a few Northern Harriers today, along with a couple of Eagles and hawks. Osprey are on their nests in most areas of the valley now. Elk are now covering much of the valley floor. There were quite a few at Windy Point as I drove north. I had to slow down to pass several herds of them near the Airport, too.

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May 3 Outing: Before I went to bed, I checked the weather report for Saturday morning. It called for “partly cloudy” skies, so I was up at 4:45 am and out the door early. I drove to Slide Lake and spent most of my morning there before doing a loop on up to Oxbow Bend.

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String Lake: Despite what the weather report had called for, skies were clear as I was driving North. At the perfect time, a few clouds rolled in over the Tetons and a few over Mt. Moran. Quite a bit more of String Lake is open since I was there on the 1st.

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Footbridge: Taken at the outlet at String Lake. The trail takes cross-country skiers to Cascade Canyon.

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Morning Light on the Cathedral Group: From this angle, the Grand appears to be smaller than Teewinot (on the left). The North Face of the Grand the lighter one—almost dead center in the image above.

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Mt. Moran: While the color was best, I was still concentrating on the Cathedral Group, but there were opportunities looking back to the north to Mt. Moran.

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Melting Ice on Jackson Lake: This is more of a “record shot” of the lake than an earnest attempt for a sunrise landscape. I took this one and the next couple to show Blog readers the status of the valley floor as of today.

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Owbow Bend: Just before the ice drops into the river.

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Upper Parking Lot: Most Fall visitors take this shot with the aspens turning, but probably don’t get to see it with snow covering the ground.

Bears: There were plenty of people driving around looking for grizzlies this morning. I drove around some, then headed on home. I like the idea of getting lucky and seeing one when I am in the area, but waiting all day seems like too much effort for so little return. To each his own!

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May 2 Outing: I was at Alpine Junction, hoping to see Mtn. Goats alongside the road. To be specific, I was hoping to see baby Mountain Goats! After seeing only a few Goats up high, I was about to give up when I found two I could photograph. Their coats are still long and full. I’ve had at least three different reports from the past week of people seeing 20-30 along the road…sometimes IN the road.

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Mtn. Goat Billy foraging in the Snake River Canyon.

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Waterfall: I saw this little waterfall on the way down. I knew I’d have more time later, so I stopped on the way back to Jackson. I used a variable Neutral Density filter to dial in the shutter speed.

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Moody Little Waterfall: Nikon D800 with a 70-200mm lens. Taken at .8 second, F/8, ISO 100.

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May 1 Outing: I wanted to check out the Teton Park Road (Inner Loop Road) this morning, so I did a quick morning outing. I was there for the morning light hitting the Grand and hung around for about 45 minutes. By 7:00 am, I was thinking everything was looking bright and washed out! Afterwards, I drove up to the Dam and Oxbow Bend area hoping to get lucky and see one of the grizzly bears. No luck at all!

Sunrise on the Grand

First Light On the Grand

Sunrise Looking East

Sunrise Looking East

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String Lake

String Lake

String Lake

Snow Pack at String Lake

Snow Pack at String Lake

Pilgrim Creek

Pilgrim Creek

Cathedral Group at String Lake Junction

Cathedral Group at String Lake Junction

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Mule Deer taken on the road to the Murie Center near Moose.

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Yellow Headed Blackbirds and Red-winged Blackbirds are at the pond just north of the Visitor’s Center in town.

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Register Now! If you haven’t registered to follow this blog, now’s the time! It costs me quite a bit of money each month to drive around the valley and be able to make the reports. A trip to Oxbow Bend or down to the Goats in Alpine can add 100 miles to my truck and cost $15-$20. It adds up! I am trying to get a couple of sponsors to help pay some of the bills, including the costs of gasoline and tires, etc. Advertisers like to know how many people are reading and following the blog, so if you haven’t done so already, please sign up!  Oh yes, if you are not seeing a right navigation bar (typical of most cell phones or narrow view devices), scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and look for the box to sign up!

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Comments (2)

  1. Jackie Ireland

    Thank you Mike, Always enjoy your post and pictures.

  2. Janet

    Thanks Mike! I’m thinking of going to Pinedale (Winds) and GTNP at the end of May however I’m hesitant to ‘make the leap’ because of cold/wet weather. Your photos give me hope that there may (no pun intended) be sunshine.

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