Sunday, July 14, 2013
Day Two in Yellowstone, "Spitfire" Sightings
Here's the latest Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) Yellowstone Adventure report from WCC's Spencer Wilhelm.
Today we began our adventure with the goals of heading to Lamar Valley in search of wolves. Driving into the park as the sun is rising is my favorite time in the park. First we came across a very large herd of bison who where quickly headed to Tower Junction and greener pastures. I am in awe by the number of calves this year. Once we began our descent in Lamar Valley we were quickly instructed by the Yellowstone Wolf Project to head to a certain pullout off the road. Wolves where in sight along with three grizzly bears. It was quick but we came across the Junction Butte Pack where we saw six wolves heading over Specimen Ridge. If that was our wolf viewing for the day then I was content.
Moments later as we continued into the valley, just off the park road we found a found a young black female wolf, commonly know to a few as "Spitfire" of the Lamar Canyon Pack. Shortly she was out of view, but all of a sudden we saw 759M, a black male of the same pack. He gave us quite a view from the top of the ridge.
It was now roughly 9am. Normally viewing wolves gets tougher as the morning comes to a close, so we headed to Trout Lake to search for river otter. No luck with otters, but we had a nice hike and saw some beautiful golden eye ducks.
Lunch was hosted by wildlife photographer Dan Hartman. It's always a pleasure to here his stories and to visit his gallery of photos. Continuing with the journey we found mountain goat, black bear, bald eagles and again "Spitfire". We spent about 45 minutes watching Spitfire from the park road as she crossed rivers, searched for snacks in the willow, and a little nap in the sand next to the river. We let her sleep and headed back towards base camp for dinner and a nap. All in all, it was one of my best days in the park. I can't wait till tomorrow. We head to Hayden Valley in search of the Canyon pack and their reported three pups. Wish us luck!