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Day Two In Yellowstone – A Symphony of Howls

Another exciting Yellowstone report from Wolf Conservation Center’s (WCC) Alex Spitzer.

Our first full day in the park was amazing.  We met before the sun started showing and made our way to the Lamar Valley.  We watched the sun rise on a few groups of buffalo that are preparing for the upcoming breeding season.  We were able to hear their vocalizations, which were very deep and guttural and caused the ground to vibrate.  As we made our first stop for breakfast, we heard a report about a wolf down the road so we quickly packed up and took off to find it.  About 2 miles down the road, we saw our first wolf of the trip.  He was an unidentified gray male with a fresh scar across his left check that was possibly from the Junction Butte pack.  We observed for about an hour as he wondered by a tree that had a bald eagle perched right above him.  We even saw him walk right by two sandhill cranes who ended up following after him for a bit.  Once he disappeared in the sage fields, we continued down the road along the Soda Butte, we stopped to observe some mountain goats way up on the hills and some ground squirrels who seemed very curious about us.  Our next stop was Dan Hartman’s house where we had lunch and had the chance to listen to some of his crazy experiences while he was in pursuit of some photos.  While at Dan’s, we caught a brief glimpse of one of the pine martens that spend much of their time near his home.  On the way back to Gardiner, we stopped to see two adult osprey and their three youngsters in their nest and ran into a herd of elk that were grazing in middle of the town of Mammoth.