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Grand Tetons have wildlife, too

Although I went to the Grand Tetons expecting beautiful scenery, I was pleasantly surprised to also find interesting wildlife. I was really hoping to see a bull Moose on my trip, and the first thing I saw as I entered the park was two moose. At a distance, I thought I had seen two females, like this one.

Moose

A closer look revealed that one of the two was actually a young bull moose which can be seen by its small antlers.

young bull Moose

Not quite what I was hoping for; guess I’ll have to wait until my next visit to get a shot of an adult Bull Moose with large antlers.

I also saw several bucks beside the road.

buck

I missed a great shot of a fox the day before when it crossed the road in front of me because I had my camera turned off, but I was amazed when I was greeted by this fox walking down the road heading straight for me. Unfortunately, the shot through the window was almost unrecognizable, but I had time to jump out of the car and get this shot as it plodded steadily down the road with a meal for her pups.

fox with squirrel

I was still more impressed by the awesome scenery than by the wildlife, but it’s obvious the two are inseparable.

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The Grand Tetons

Although the main reason for my trip to Colorado was to visit Tyson and his family, I’ll have to admit I was really looking forward to seeing the Grand Tetons on the way back. In fact, I’ve longed to see them ever since I saw their picture in an ad for National Parks. I wasn’t disappointed.

I think it was a shot very like this one

Grand Tetons

that originally drew my attention. Of course, the picture is made up of six different shots photomerged, and it looks better covering the screen. Still, I love the way the mountains rise straight out of the desert.

This

Grand Tetons

is a much less traditional shot, but I love the reflections of the Tetons in the lake and the contrast it provides to the above shot.

I spent the morning of the last day of my trip stopping and taking pictures of the Tetons every few miles, much the way I take pictures of birds. As a result, I ended up with a hard drive full of shots. This one probably works best at a 620 pixel width, though it’s not my favorite shot.

Grand Tetons

It was a great morning, made even more enjoyable by meeting Pierre Sudry and his wife visiting from France.

Visitors from France

I noticed them at one of the first places you can pull off the road to get a long shot of the Tetons. I didn’t think much of it then, but after we stopped at the same pull out several times I walked over to talk to them. Luckily, they understood English better than I remembered my college French so we were able to share some of our wonder at what we were seeing. This picture was taken at my last stop in Grand Tetons National Park.

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Yes, There were Some Birds at Yellowstone, too

I certainly wouldn’t advise fellow birders to go to Yellowstone if their primary desire is to see birds. I saw a lot more deer and elk than I did birds, even if you count the small flock of Canada Geese I observed. The best bird I saw was the Osprey nest I posted a few days ago

Simply by keeping my eyes open I got a chance to see a number of birds, though in lesser numbers than I usually see them in the Puget Sound. For instance, I saw this lone Scaup near a flock of Canada Geese:

Scaup

I saw my first ever Widgeon ducklings,

ducklings

Though they don’t look very different from the Mallard ducklings I’m used to seeing.

Somehow this Robin seemed more wild than the one that frequents my backyard,

Robin

Though he seemed equally willing to pose for me.

The best songbird I saw was in the campground, this Western Tanager.

Western Tananger

I’d be the first to admit, though, that none of the birds I saw quite measured up to the three bull elk that I saw.

bull Elk

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Yellowstone Scenics

I’ve already mentioned that I was more interested in seeing animals than in seeing the standard tourist attractions in Yellowstone this visit, but that doesn’t mean I ignored the inherent beauty. No, I’ve just been frustrated in trying to convey the sense of beauty I felt while there. I’m generally not a fan of 3-D or stereoscopic photographs, but I am frustrated at being unable to convey the sense of depth, of distance, that I felt while taking these pictures at Artist Point.

My first reaction when taking this shot was “Wow!!” because I was looking straight down at huge, rugged cliffs hundreds of feet below. Unfortunately, he camera flattened the shot, making the background and foreground appear on the same plane,

Artist Point

despite spending nearly an hour in Photoshop trying to accent the closest cliffs and blur the valley walls across the river.

Sometimes it seems scenics are better when seen at a distance. This shot of a waterfall in the distance reveals the power of the river as it cut through the canyon.

Yellowstone

This shot looking the other way, down the canyon toward Yellowstone Lake perhaps gives a better sense of just how deep the canyon is.

looking south from Artist Point

The waterfall in this shot isn’t too spectacular, but I love the rock shapes above the falls.

waterfall

It seems that even going towards The Tetons rather than turning north towards Old Faithful it’s impossible to completely miss evidence that this is still an active volcanic area. The bubbling sulfur reminds us of the powerful forces that created this majestic area.

sulfur pits