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A Morning Stretch

March 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP

March: “Changes and Hints of Spring” 

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Monthly Overviews for JH / GTNP .

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March 31, 2017 : Friday

Elk on Ridge

Elk on Ridge: This morning, I saw lots of small herds of Elk migrating out of the National Elk Refuge. These were near the small town of Kelly. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

March Barn

March Barn: As I was driving around, the screen in my Ram truck announced a warning for a “blizzard”. The tops of the Tetons were covered, but the clouds farther south looked great. A couple of Sage Grouse flew overhead as I was heading into the sagebrush for this shot. Sage Grouse should be on their lek soon. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens.

This is the last day for March entries—and for the first quarter of 2017. Watch for a new Daily Journal tomorrow. Sign up to follow this blog if you would like to receive email updates and notices.

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March 30, 2017 : Thursday

Eagles

Eagles: I would have preferred the two flying eagles to be heading my direction, but I didn’t have any control of the situation! There were six or more immature Bald Eagles along the icy shoreline at Oxbow Bend this morning. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Raven

Raven: I pulled into the parking lot at Oxbow Bend. This Raven seemed to pose for me for a while before taking off to join its mate. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Chapel of the Transfiguration

Chapel of the Transfiguration: The road is now plowed to the Chapel. The April version of the Daily Journal should be posted sometime on Saturday. I’ll try to include an updated list of roads that being opened, along with a few that will stay closed until May 1st. Check in Saturday, or better yet, sign up to follow the blog! Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens. Hand Held.

Time to Start Carrying Bear Spray! I’ve heard a few reports of tracks and even a couple of reports of actual bear sightings in GTNP now.

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March 29, 2017 : Wednesday

Sunrise

Sunrise: This is the back side of the John Moulton Barn. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

First Light

First Light: Have you ever wondered what this homestead looked like in its hay day? Check out this post! The “Missing” GTNP Farming and Ranching Photos: Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Shane Cabin

Shane Cabin: There’s a lot more information about the Historic Shane Cabins on this page. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Shane Cabin Window

Shane Cabin Window: Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

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March 28, 2017 : Tuesday

John Moulton Barn

Yippie! Hallelujah! Woo Hoo! Antelope Flats Road is finally open for the summer! Now, we can make what I call “the Kelly Loop” without having to backtrack to Gros Ventre Junction. Of course, this also opens up access to the Mormon Row barns and homesteads. Mormon Row Road is still closed, and probably will be for several more weeks to let it dry out. When I heard the news, I made a quick midday trip. Maybe I’ll go back in the morning for better light, but I will certainly be ready to go out following a late season snow storm. There is still some snow, but it is melting fast! Wolves are known to pass by the barns, so Antelope Flats Road access is definitely welcome news. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens.

Uinta Ground Squirrels

Uinta Ground Squirrel: I’ve been seeing more and more of these little creatures. They have a distinctive chirp to help confirm there are lots more in the area. I snapped this photo in front of the Peach House on Mormon Row. I typically don’t see that many of them on snow, however. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens.

Other Wildlife: The Sleigh Rides on the National Elk Refuge end on the last day of March. Currently, they are using rubber tired wagons and not sleighs. Without the supplemental feeding, Elk are leaving the Refuge in large numbers. I’ve been hearing a few Sandhill Cranes, but haven’t actually seen one yet. I’ve heard of a few other reports of them. White Pelicans may also be in the valley.

South Entrance to GTNP: Last evening, I was invited to have dinner with a resident at Shooting Star, near Teton Village. I headed a little early to do a reconnaissance run in the area. I drove up the to gate at Granite Canyon and then back to Shooting Star. I was hoping to see Moose, Elk, Coyotes, Foxes, and possibly Owls, but it wasn’t to be. Snow levels next to the road are perfect for mousing Coyotes and Foxes right now, and I suspect there are quite a few around. The rest of the Moose-Wilson Road is not scheduled to open until May 1st.

Full Moons / New Moons  list for 2017. I also added this handy link to the Grand Teton NP & JH Info / Area Links in the Menu Bar at the top of each page (under the banner).

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March 27, 2017 : Monday

JH in the News

The Teton Park Road is now open to hikers, walkers, bikers, roller bladers, etc. from the Taggart Lake Trailhead to Signal Mountain. Motorized vehicles are prohibited until May 1st.

The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve building suffered water damage over the winter. Currently, cross country and snow shoe travelers can still use the Moose-Wilson Road until it opens on May 1st.

Don’t Poach the Powder! That’s typically a quote intended for out of bounds skiers and boarders in closed mountainous areas. Yesterday, I saw a couple of people in the river bottom at Schwabacher Landing. Their car was parked at the gate, but so was the GTNP Ranger’s cruiser! They likely received a citation for being in a Winter Closure. The Snake River bottom is closed to all human activity from Moose to Pacific Creek until April 1st.

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March 26, 2017 : Sunday

Raptors

Power Pole Hunters: How about an early Sunday post! These are tiny crops from yesterday—not great shots I know—but included to show three types of birds I saw on the tops of the power poles heading north out of Kelly. The first bird is a Prairie Falcon. The middle one is an American Kestrel, and of course the last one is an American Bald Eagle. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird: Bluebirds are back! Actually, that’s slightly old news, but today, I saw large flocks of them working the snow and sagebrush along the Gros Ventre. A better term for the numbers might be a “swarm” of Bluebirds! Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Updates on Wolves and Owls: If you scroll down to the beginning of the March entries, you might notice a LOT of Great Gray Owl shots through March 15th or so. Since the snow melted in their hunting grounds, I haven’t seen a single one, nor have I heard of anyone seeing them. Wolves were active for about a week, then have been a no-show for the past four or five days. I spotted five Bison on a small hill north of the Mormon Row barns. I also counted 14 Moose Saturday afternoon.

Sunday Morning Images

Sunrise

Sunrise: Taken near Elk Flats. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Teton Range

Teton Range: Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Snake River

Snake River: Taken near the Buffalo Fork River. Flows on the Snake are already very high, making this shot much different than in most earlier years. Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens.

Bison Bull on Ridge

Bison Bull on Ridge: This group of five Bison was headed south. I saw them originally when they were way out in the sage, but I could tell they were on the move. All I had to do was wait for them. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Bison After Rolling

Bison After Rolling: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Bison Cow and Calf

Bison Cow and Calf: The group of five crossed the Gros Ventre Road near Kelly. They continued South towards the Gros Ventre River. I would expect to start seeing Bison exiting the National Elk Refuge soon. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Experimental Map! The pin in the map above shows roughly where the group of Bison crossed today. Click the +/- in the lower right to zoom in or out and click the square in the lower left to switch to satellite view mode. You can also scroll around by clicking and dragging.

Alert Cow Moose

Alert Cow Moose: Taken along the Gros Ventre Road. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Bull Elk

Bull Elk: This Bull was stranded outside the fence at the National Elk Refuge. Luckily for him, the Sleigh Ride gate was open and he eventually found it. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Afternoon at Home

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker: Last Summer, a pair of Flickers built a nest in an old tree trunk in my back yard. I heard one of them calling today, so I set up my tripod and gear. Within a short period, the male returned to the same hole. He returned an hour or so later. You can read the post from last summer on this page: A Northern Flicker Journal : 2016

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March 25, 2017 : Saturday

Cow Moose

Cow Moose: I did a midday trip to the southern end of GTNP today. There numerous Moose along the Gros Ventre and North of Kelly. Four were relatively close to the East Boundary Road. A few of them are begging to shed their Winter fur, but are overall still fairly clean. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Late Winter Moose

Late Winter Moose: Moose are well equipped to travel through deep snow and tall sagebrush, as seen here. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Antelope Flats Road is still closed! I was hoping the Park Service would open it for the weekend. Downtown Jackson is very busy with the World Championship Hill Climb at Snow King Mountain.

Bighorn Ram

Bighorn Ram: Most of the snow has melted off the National Elk Refuge. Today, I saw roughly 16 rams still hanging near the roadway. This ram still has nice color and full fur, but others are bleached lighter. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Ram Head

Ram Head: This ram is beginning to lose its thick winter fur. Spring fur can be seen on its neck and around its eyes. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

The National Elk Refuge Road was slimy and muddy today. Aside from the mud, the roadway is in much better shape than the last time I drove down it.

In cast you missed it, check out the most recent Feature Post: Harbingers of Spring. In the past few days, I’ve seen Chipmonks, Uinta Ground Squirrels, Yellow-bellied Marmots, Northern Flickers, Juncos, Horned Larks, and Pine Siskens.

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March 24, 2017 : Friday

Oxbow Bend

Oxbow Bend: Ice is melting off Oxbow Bend. If you venture that far north, you’ll find that snow is still a couple of feet deep in many areas. I didn’t see any owls, foxes, or otters today, nor any Grizzly tracks.  Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens.

Jackson Lake Dam

Jackson Lake Dam: With the heavy winter snows, the hydrologists are releasing a high volume of water out of the Jackson Lake Dam. Currently, the flow rate is 4500 CFS at Moose, WY.  Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200mm Lens.

Sunrise on the Teton Range

Sunrise on the Teton Range: Taken from the Jackson Lake Dam. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Coyotes

Coyotes: I spotted three Coyotes on the move near the Colter Bay Convenience Store and heading towards Leek’s Marina. The road into Leeks is now plowed. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Immature Eagle

Immature Eagle: Taken from the bridge over the Buffalo Fork River. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron: I’d like have time to wait for this Heron to be more visible, but I had to get to the airport. The previous eagle was in a tree just to the left of the Heron. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Immature Eagles

Immature Eagles: I spotted this group of four along the bank on Flat Creek. I have no idea why they would have been gathered next to the river. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

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March 23, 2017 : Thursday

“National Elk Refuge Info: – As part of ongoing disease management efforts, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists, in consultation with the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, announced plans today to end supplemental feeding for bison and elk on the National Elk Refuge (Refuge) this Thursday, March 23 2017.  This year’s feeding season began on January 7, approximately 2½ weeks earlier than average. This earlier feed date was due in part to heavier snow depth and density than is typically seen in early January. Approximately 8,900 elk, roughly 80% of the Jackson Elk Herd, wintered on the Refuge this season. This represents the highest number of elk wintering on the Refuge since 1997.”

Elk and Bison typically begin leaving the Refuge once feeding ceases. Watch for migrations across the Gros Ventre and sage flats.

Mule Deer Buck

Mule Deer Buck: One of around 30 Mule Deer near Kelly. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Flat Creek

Flat Creek: I include this photo to show the status of the snow pack on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

White-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer: Taken along the Gros Ventre.

Wagons and Snow

Wagons and Snow: Taken at Kelly. A few weeks ago, I could see only the tops of the largest wheels. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Antlers

Antlers: Taken in Kelly. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Wooden Gate

Wooden Gate: Taken in Kelly. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

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March 22, 2017 : Wednesday

Howling WolfHowling Wolf: Considering how many hours I spend out in the field, I see surprisingly few Gray Wolves in the Tetons. I saw two today near the old Teton Science School. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Standing Wolf

Standing Wolf: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Running Elk

Running Elk: Three Bull Elk sprinted across the hill above the Shane Cabins. They appeared to be fearing for their lives and had been running for a while. I’d have to assume an area Wolf pack was their concern. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Morning Tetons

Morning Tetons: Taken from the East Boundary Road. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Morning Tetons

Morning Tetons: Also taken from the East Boundary Road. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Weekend Events: The World Championship King of the Hill hill climb contest will be held on Snow King Mountain. Vendors are already set up at the base of the hill. Each year, the event gets larger and lasts longer. Also being held this weekend is the Annual Pole, Pedal, Paddle race starting at the top of JH Mountain Resort and ending in the Hoback Canyon at the Astoria boat launch.

Antelope Flats Road

Roadway Update: As of this morning, Antelope Flats is still closed to vehicle traffic. The signs say the closure is a result of heavy drifting, but the roadway is perfectly clear and dry. I’m not sure why the Park Service is dragging their feet on the opening this year.

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March 21, 2017 : Tuesday

Bohemian Waxwing

Bohemian Waxwing: I spotted around 40 Waxwings feeding on berries in my neighborhood this afternoon. I didn’t get many shots, but liked this one. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: There were two adults and two cygnets milling around in the pond just to the north of the Visitors Center. I also saw Canada Geese, Coots, Mallard Ducks, and Common Mergansers in the pond. A single Red-winged Blackbird was singing and flying around the cattails. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Canada Geese

Canada Geese: Taken next to the Visitors Center pond. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Mallards

Mallards: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

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March 20, 2017 : Monday

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: I did an evening trip out the Gros Ventre and stopped a few times to photograph Sleeping Indian. It still has plenty of snow, but other hillsides are losing it fast. Expect Elk to migrate off the National Elk Refuge soon! Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Aspens

Aspens: Evening light and dark, moody clouds can make a mundane scene worth a shot. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Shane Gate

Shane Gate: This old gate is still standing on the hillside above the Shane Cabins. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Buck Mule Deer

Buck Mule Deer: I spotted this buck next to a house in Kelly. I am surprised to see one with antlers this late in the year. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: Changing light and changing clouds kept drawing me to Sleeping Indian today. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Moose on Ridge

Moose on Ridge: Most of the images I took today were taken along the Gros Ventre Road. I was watching for either of two Wolf packs roaming the area north of Kelly and along Blacktail Butte. I saw 10 Moose near the Gros Ventre Campground, and another half dozen scattered around the valley. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian: One last shot of the the distinctive ridge. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

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March 19, 2017 : Sunday

Spring Gulch Road Cabin

Spring Gulch Road Cabin: I went out for a quick look yesterday afternoon and snapped a few photos that didn’t get downloaded until today. The Golden Willow tree caught my eye originally, but the added hay wagons prompted me to pull over for a shot. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Canada Geese

Canada Geese are one of the “Harbingers of Spring”. They disappear for a few months during the coldest periods of winter. These were taken along the Moose-Wilson Road. I go there once in a while to check on River Otters, Long-tailed Weasels, Pine Martens, Beavers and Foxes. Snow is currently too deep to expect to see many of of the large mammals like Elk and Moose. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Shane Cabin Fence

Shane Cabin Fence: If you want to experience “Winter” in Jackson Hole, you better hurry! Snow is melting fast. Hydrologists are already letting a lot of water out of the Jackson Lake Dam this year. The Snake River is running uncharacteristically high and muddy for mid-March. The Gros Ventre River appears to be running at normal rates and color. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

If you haven’t seen it, I just uploaded a new Feature Post: Harbingers of Spring.

Blacktail Pond Overlook is open now, but you cannot walk down into the river bottom until May 1st. Antelope Flats Road is clear, but the gates are still closed. You can walk to the barns along Mormon Row.

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March 18, 2017 : Saturday

Snake River Overlook

Snake River Overlook: The weather forecast called for clear skies for the morning, but it can be worth the gamble. This one is a two shot pano, stitched in Lightroom. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Morning Coyote

Morning Coyote: This critter was walking along the highway on way south from Snake River Overlook. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Blacktail Ponds Overlook

Blacktail Ponds Overlook: Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Red Fox

Red Fox: Blacktail Pond Overlook’s drive has been plowed, but signs near the entrance still say there can be no human presence. Since that area had been plowed, I thought I’d make a quick run up Antelope Flats road to see if they opened the gates. I spotted this Red Fox, headed east. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

On the Move

On the Move: Nice morning light! This fox doesn’t have a collar or ear tags. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Antelope Flats Road

Antelope Flats Road: This image tells a few stories. The road is bone dry, but still locked. The Red Fox walked parallel with the road until it neared the gate, then crossed and headed Northeast. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

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March 17, 2017 : Friday

ROAD CLOSURE: Per WYDOT, Snake River Canyon from Hoback to Alpine is CLOSED due to road damage near Deer Creek.  Current estimate is opening after 12:00pm on Saturday 3/18.  Visit www.wyoroad.info for the latest. See article on closure at http://www.dot.state.wy.us/news/wydot-monitors-movement-on-us-26-89.

Gray WolfGuest Photo! I’d love to be posting my own photo of a beautiful, close Gray Wolf, but so far this year, I simply haven’t been in the right place at the right time. Today was Sue Ernisse’s day! A pack of Gray Wolves passed by her car and she took advantage of the occasion by capturing some wonderful images! You can see a lot of her photos (including more of the Wolf shots) on Facebook at: Sue Pounian Ernisse.

Meadowlark

Meadowlark: Today, I spotted a few of the Spring newcomers. Several Meadowlarks were along the East Boundary Road, north of Kelly. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird: This brightly colored bird was spotted in the S curves near the Shane Cabin. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Moose

Moose: I photographed this Cow Moose near the Kelly Warm Springs this morning. When I went back out this afternoon, I counted at least 15 Moose. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Coyote

Coyote: Spotted near the Kelly Warm Springs. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk: The raptors usually start showing up at about the same time the Rough-legged Hawks leave the valley. I’ve seen several of them over the past week or so. This one was returning to its nest, only to find a pair of Bald Eagles in it. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle: One of the “squatters” on the Red-tail’s nest. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

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March 16, 2017 : Thursday

March Mid-Month Recap: You can always click any of the months in the Daily Updates Archives and compare them from month to month or year to year. 2016Dec: | Nov: | Oct: | Sept: | Aug: | July: | June: | May: | Apr: | Mar: | Feb: | Jan:  | I believe the archives to be a premier asset for anyone considering a trip to Jackson Hole!

250 GGOIn Jackson Hole, one year can be much different than the year before. For example, last year my first sighting of a Great Gray Owl was on May 21. This year, starting in early February, Great Gray Owls appeared in numerous locations in the valley—mostly around the southern edge of the Park and along the numerous county roads. Typically, Mountain Goats are reliable subjects in February and March, but this year, the opportunities have been relatively few and unproductive. For whatever reason, Red Foxes have been much more scarce this year compared to previous years. As you glean through March 2017, you’ll see a lot of Great Gray Owls and possibly a few Great Horned Owls on this page. Some of the more patient photographers may be getting good photos of the area Wolves lately and Grizzlies should start surfacing soon. It has been warm over the past few days, melting snow and revealing more of the earth and shrubs. The Park Service recently installed a sign near the Gros Ventre Junction indicating people need to watch out for migrating elk leaving the National Elk Refuge.

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March 15, 2017 : Wednesday

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch: This is a tight crop of a shot I took today of a small, but noisy bird found during the winter months. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Choppers

Choppers: There’s a large Bald Eagle nest in the top of the cottonwood tree, with a group of helicopters passing above the Teton Range. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

White-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer: One of three does I photographed among the mature cottonwoods along the Gros Ventre. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Successful Hunter

Successful Hunter: I don’t think I’ve photographed this Owl this year. Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Hunter

Hunter: Nikon D5 and  Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl: Nikon D5 and  Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

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March 14, 2017 : Tuesday

Great Gray Owl in Spruce

Great Gray Owl in Spruce: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Great Gray in Cottonwoods

Great Gray in Cottonwoods: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Great Gray Owl in Fork

Great Gray Owl in Fork: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

I didn’t get out of the house until after lunch. I heard Wolves were in the Kelly area, but they stayed well off the road. I also saw a Red Fox in the Kelly area. I got a report of a Bluebird yesterday, seen on Spring Gulch Road. I saw at least five Moose along the Gros Ventre River between the Highway and Kelly.

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March 13, 2017 : Monday

Great Gray Owl on Snow

Great Gray Owl on Snow: I spent much of the afternoon photographing this adult Owl. It (she?) flew to the snow several times. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Great Gray Owl on Snow

Great Gray Owl with Prey: Over the past couple of weeks, Jackson Hole has lost a lot of the winter snow pack—especially on the valley floor. Warm temperatures are making the snow softer, which seems to allow the Owls to be more successful.  Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Great Gray Diver

Great Gray Diver: This happens much too fast! Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Great Gray Owl Landing on Stump

Great Gray Owl Landing on Stump: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Take Off

Take Off: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Great Gray and Cottonwoods

Great Gray and Cottonwoods: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Great Gray Hovering

Great Gray Hovering: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

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March 12, 2017 : Sunday (Spring Forward)

Mule Deer

Mule Deer: Taken in town, next to McDonalds. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Swan Pair in Flight

Swan Pair in Flight: I hit it about right at the Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond this morning. Four or five pairs took off and passed overhead within 10-15 minutes. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Clark's Nutcracker

Clark’s Nutcracker: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Pouncing Fox

Pouncing Fox: (Click this image to see it larger) I had to use a bit of artistic license for this shot. Actually, the fox jumps only a few feet to its prey, but I spread them out to show the various stages. This Red Fox was working the fields near Kelly late in the day. A couple of Coyotes ended my Fox show. These were taken at a distance of about 200 yards farther than I would have preferred!  Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Moose

Startled Moose: This cow Moose was grazing on a roadside bush when a passing vehicle spooked her. It was taken “up the Gros Ventre”, just outside the Park boundary. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

American Kestrel: I drove around the valley yesterday afternoon, mainly looking for Great Gray and Great Horned Owls. I didn’t see owls, but I did spot my first American Kestrel of the year. I expect to see the first Bluebirds very soon now.

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March 11, 2017 : Saturday

Moon Setting over SRO

Moon Setting over SRO: I got up at 4:00 am and was at Snake River Overlook at 5:00am. The full moon set early today, but I was hoping for glowing clouds around the Tetons. I got close! Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Snake River Overlook

Snake River Overlook: I’ve been waiting for a river bottom fog bank like this for a long time. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Alpenglow

Alpenglow: This is a crop of a single D810 image, but I also captured this image as a 7 shot set of verticals. Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

River Bottom Fog

River Bottom Fog: Nikon D810 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Bull Moose

Bull Moose: Taken near the highway with the Grand as a backdrop. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Gray Wolves

Gray Wolves: This pack of seven Gray Wolves was traveling parallel to the East Boundary Road. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Snow King Pond Skimmer

Snow King Pond Skimmer: This event was originally scheduled for Sunday, but was bumped up a day based on weekend weather forecasts. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Snow King

Snow King: A ditch pit was dug at the base of Snow King, lined with plastic, and then filled with water. I took a telephoto lens so I could stay back…the skiers and snow boarders watch for photographers and onlookers close enough to spray. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Pond Skimmer

Pond Skimmer: I didn’t hang around too long today, but historically, this event can get a bit rowdy as the beer takes affect. The Town Downhill Races were also in progress on the “Town Hill”. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle: Taken along Gros Ventre Road. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

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March 10, 2017 : Friday

SiteLock: If you happen to see anything about SiteLock on a page on this site, rest assured it is safe! The service is offered through Network Solutions that hosts this site to help protect the site from hacking and to help protect you from unwanted malware. MJ

Wilson Barn

Wilson Barn: It’s a rainy day here in Jackson Hole. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Pine Bough

Pine Bough: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC On.

Front End Loader

Front End Loader: This machine was parked in front of a lumber yard in Wilson, WY. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Great Gray Owl Hunting

Great Gray Owl Hunting: I spent roughly 3 hours waiting for this Great Gray to fly down to a vole, or even switch trees, but it never happened. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

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March 9, 2017 : Thursday

Weather ChannelLook for The Weather Channel icon in the navigation bar. It contains information about sunrise/sunset, moonrise/moonset, radar maps, and forecasts.

Also, look for this link in the upper banner: Grand Teton NP & JH Info / Area Links. You’ll see a large section containing additional weather links. Weather Underground & Mountain Weather are two additional popular weather sites around here—sometimes more accurate than The Weather Channel.

JH in the Movies!: Last night, I went to the latest X-Men movie, Logan. At one point in the movie, the 1950’s classic movie Shane was playing on a TV. When Shane showed a scene with the full Teton Range, people in the local audience were cheering. Pretty cool!

Barn Owl and Harrier

Barn Owl and Northern Harrier: I took this show at Farmington Bay, UT a few years ago. I was using a D300 and Nikon 200-400mm at the time. 600mm would have been better, as I had to crop this one more than I would prefer. The Eagles were good that year, too. The Farmington Bay experience hasn’t been as good over the past five or six years. At one time, February in Farmington Bay was touted as the largest concentration of Eagles in the continental US.

Rusty Tractor

Rusty Tractor: This old tractor is located a few miles south of town. I’ve photographed it a few other times, but today, I thought the snow around it was “about right”. There are a lot of distractions, which I removed in Photoshop. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Eurasian Collard Dove

Eurasian Collard Dove: I took this shot from my truck’s window when I pulled into my driveway. While not always the case, Eurasian Collard Doves are commonly seen in Jackson Hole. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Bull Elk

Bull Elk: Thousands of Elk are gazing in the southern end of the National Elk Refuge. The largest bulls typically hang in the zone closer to the Elk Refuge Sleigh Rides farther North, but a few mid-sized bulls are mixed in with the southern herd. This afternoon, they were very close to the road. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Bighorns

Bighorns: Captured as this small group crossed a snow field.  Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

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March 8, 2017 : Wednesday

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan: Taken at the Swan Pond on Boyle’s Hill Road. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

East Boundary Road

East Boundary Road: The road is closed going north at the Kelly Warm Springs junction. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Deer Carcass

Deer Carcass: Taken from the road on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Ice Crossing

Ice Crossing: Taken at the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Bighorn Ewe

Bighorn Ewe on the Rocks. Taken at Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

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March 7, 2017 : Tuesday

Great Gray Owl

New Feature Post: Snowfall and Wildlife Most of the photos feature images of the Great Gray Owls we’ve been seeing lately.  Each photo is labeled with the pertinent Shooting Data, and hopefully it will help you in some way.

Red-tailed HawkI didn’t spend as much time outdoors today as usual. Last night, I rebooted my desktop computer, and when it came back up, I got a message telling me one of my drives needed to be reformatted. That’s never a message you want to see! I bought a new external drive first thing this morning and have been letting Lightroom move files to it all day. Only 10,000 files to go!

Indicators of Spring: Still way to early to think about Spring, especially when looking at the falling snow out the window, but the JH News and Guide included a story about the reopening of the Craig Thomas Visitors Center at Moose. Hours — 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Extended Summer hours will be announced as the seasons progress.

Even though this Red-tailed Hawk is out of focus , I’ll include it to document the fact that some of them are back in the valley. Over the weekend, I spotted either a Peregrine or Prairie Falcon flying over Windy Point in Grand Teton National Park.


Upcoming Sports Events:

  • JH Grizzlies Hockey Playoffs at Snow King Resort, Friday and Saturday
  • Town Downhill (Ski and Snowboard) at Snow King Resort, This Weekend.

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March 6, 2017 : Monday

Hopping Owl

Hopping Owl: This is the closest thing I got today of a “bird in flight” this morning. He/she hopped from one location on a beam to another. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Hunting

Hunting: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Take Off

Take Off: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

GGO On Fence

GGO On Fence: Taken at 1/80th second using a tripod. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Eyes

Eyes: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Missed Opportunity

Missed Opportunity: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off./

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March 5, 2017 : Sunday

Eagle Returning with Branch

Eagle Returning with Branch: This pair of Bald Eagles is in the process of adding new branches to a Red-tailed Hawk nest. Nikon D500 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

New Branches

New Branches: Nikon D500 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Eagle Nest

Eagle Nest: Nikon D500 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Eagles

Eagles: Nikon D500 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Moose on a Ridge

Moose on a Ridge: Taken near the Kelly Warm Springs. Nikon D500 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens.Hand Held with VC Off.

Passing Trumpeter Swans

Passing Trumpeter Swans: Nikon D500 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Tree Top Owl

Tree Top Owl: Blue sky in the morning, and snow in the afternoon! Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Owl Variants

Owl Variants: The image on the left was captured at 1/50th second and the one on the right was taken at 1/320th second. (Click the image above to see it much larger) Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Owl in Snow

Owl in Snow: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Owl in Flight

Owl in Flight: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

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March 4, 2017 : Saturday

Sunrise at Snake River Overlook

Sunrise at Snake River Overlook: Things were looking good, or possibly great. As the sliver of light started hitting the Teton Range, a cloud began covering the peak of the Grand. It was a beautiful experience. Nikon D810 and Original Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Coyote

Coyote: Captured along the Gros Ventre. I had hoped to see wolves, but they weren’t too active this morning. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Grand Peak

Grand Peak: Within about an hour, the morning clouds blew off the Grand. I took this one from the Gros Ventre Road. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan: Taken along Flat Creek. This Swan was preening when I saw it, and it did the “wing flap” sequence for me two times! Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle: Taken near the Gros Ventre River. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat: Taken in the Snake River Canyon. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat: I waited a couple of hours for this Billy to get up, but when he did, he turned away from me. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl: This Owl sat on the downed log for a long time. I had plenty of time to set up my tripod, then take a few dozen images including the various possible “poses” — looking left, right, behind, up, down, and directly at me. Then the light changes and I shoot again. Anytime, it spins to show a different side, I get all of them again, and anytime it appears it “might” take off, I am ready and take another group. When I get home, I see I took around 400 images of the owl on a log in the snow, but in reality, I know I only need to keep two or three of them. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl: Then, if you are lucky (and ready), they fly! Let me rephrase that…they always eventually fly…but not always towards you!  Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

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March 3, 2017 : Friday

Night Sky

Night Sky: I headed out at midnight—primarily a result of watching the 10:00 Weather Report on TV. It appears we will be seeing another wave of clouds and snow over the weekend. These two Teton photos were taken from Teton View Overlook. Nikon D5 and Nikon 14-24mm Lens.

Teton Range

Teton Range: The glow behind the Grand is from the town of Driggs, Idaho. Nikon D5 and Nikon 14-24mm Lens.

Night Sky Over Flat Creek

Night Sky Over Flat Creek: Swans woke up when they heard me moving around on the observation platform. The glow on the mountains and snow is from lights in the Town of Jackson. Nikon D5 and Nikon 14-24mm Lens.

Bighorn Ewe

Bighorn Ewe: Taken on the National Elk Refuge. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Moose with Aspen Branches

Moose with Aspen Branches: Numerous Moose are grazing along the Gros Ventre River.  Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Bull Moose on Slope

Bull Moose on Slope: Along the Gros Ventre. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Cow Moose and Gros Ventre

Cow Moose and Gros Ventre: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Elk on Ridge

Elk on Ridge: Taken along the Gros Ventre Road. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Coyote

Coyote: Coyotes and Wolves were apparently active today. Snow has warmed and then refrozen quite a few times, creating a solid surface. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

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March 2, 2017 : Thursday

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl: Yesterday afternoon, I had a great time with an owl, but today, all I could find was a GGO well off the road. I waited way too long for him to get closer, but when it finally flew, it went deeper into the cottonwoods. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Scratcher

Scratcher: I heard of a Golden Eagle feeding on a winter kill on the National Elk Refuge, but it wasn’t there when I went through. This young ewe found the perfect tool for the itch under its right shoulder. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Mule Deer

Mule Deer: If you drive around almost anywhere in and around town, you’ll likely see a few mule deer and can photograph them at close range. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Eagle

Immature Eagle: This one was NOT at close range. At first, I thought it was a Rough-legged Hawk. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Rafter J Barn

Rafter J Barn: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens Hand Held.

Meadow Ranch

Meadow Ranch: Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens Hand Held.

Tetons

Tetons: The close hills are West Gros Ventre Butte and East Gros Ventre Butte.  Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee: I captured the two Chickadee species from the bird blind in my back yard. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee: These little birds are quick! Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

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March 1, 2017 : Wednesday

Rose Mountains

March 2016:  | March 2015: |  March 2014:

How about a March 2017 sneak preview! Just click on any or all of the three links above.

Some people seem to underrate March, but I typically get LOTS of photographic opportunities. Deer, Moose, and most of the Elk will have lost their antlers and most of the Bison will be out of sight, but Mountain Goats and Foxes usually take up the slack. Keep an eye out for Wolves as they follow Elk around the valley. Daylight hours finally feel “long enough”, yet temperatures can start feeling tolerable. It’s a great month to get out and capture the last of Winter, especially during some of the late snow storms. Spring songbirds start moving in, including the first waves of cobalt blue Bluebirds. Snow will still dominate the landscape, but after months of Winter, hints of change are welcomed. March is also a great month to be photographing outdoor activities.

Wind Blown Ridge

Wind Blown Ridge: Taken early this morning at Teton View Overlook. I went out early hoping to get a good sunrise, but clouds covered the peaks as seen in the top image in today’s entry. At 0° F and with those winds, you don’t want to stand in the cold too long. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Snow Plow

Snow Plow: Taken at first light near Windy Point . You can get a good idea of the current snow depths in this shot. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens.

Morning Tree Stand

Row of Cottonwoods: I liked the silhouettes against the amber ridge. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens. Hand Held with VC ON.

Winter Canyon

Wild and Rugged! Taken near the Taggart Lake Trail Head parking area. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens. Hand Held with VC ON.

Rendezvous Peak

Rendezvous Peak: You can see a bit of the Tram Tower at the top of the peak on the left. Taken from the road near the Moose entrance station. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens. Hand Held with VC ON.

Aspen Trunks

Aspen Trunks: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens. Hand Held with VC ON.

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans: While on the Moose-Wilson Road, I pulled over so I could look over one of the 6′ tall snow banks. I was looking for some of the mounds of snow, but saw this pair. Ice had formed right up to their bodies. Nikon D810 and Tamron 150-600mm G2 Lens. Hand Held with VC ON.

Flying Swans

Trumpeter Swans: Trumpeters are moving up and down the valley, so about all you have to do is listen for them and be ready for a shot. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

Immature Bald Eagle

Immature Eagle: Winter kills are common at this time of the year. Eagles, Magpies, Ravens and Crows are opportunistic feeders. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Hand Held with VC Off.

GGO On the Ground

Great Gray Owl: Last year, it seemed we were all “owl deprived” for much of the first half of the year, but this year, quite a few Great Gray Owls have been spotted in numerous areas of the valley. Recent Clients told me of shots they took of a GGO on a highway sign across from the National Elk Refuge. From what I’ve seen, they prefer the cottonwood covered river bottoms. Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

GGO in Flight

GGO in Flight: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl: Nikon D5 and Original Tamron 150-600mm Lens. Tripod with VC Off.

Also Check out: February 2017 Daily Journal for GTNP and JH: Much of the first week or so of March will resemble February!

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Comments (5)

  1. Kathy Harrison

    Fantastic night shots! Light pollution certainly becomes your photos here!

  2. George Norsworthy

    Mike, thanks for the info on the Elk Refuge. Good to know!

  3. As always, thanks for educating me about the where and how. Lots of very good images but not a lot of big animals yet. I hope the moose, elk, and deer start showing themselves in the early morning sun … hmmm, the sun actually comes out?

  4. Richard Hanks

    I like the “Sunrise” composition. Wish to be there.

  5. Great to hear that Mormon Row is finally an easy drive. If the weather man continues to say that Saturday will be clear and sunny I don’t think I can resist getting some shots of the barns when there is partial snow there. A bison or coyote or wolf would certainly add to the drama. I hope to have some of my per mentors join me for a unique perspective.

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