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Yellowstone Trip


CHRONOLOGY: The approach to Yellowstone via Livingston and Gardiner, Mammoth Hot Springs Upper Terrace Dr., Tower Falls, Blacktail Plateau Dr., Lamar Valley, Northeast entrance, Cooke City, Colter Pass, Beartooth Scenic Hwy., the Chief Joseph Scenic By-way, “Golden Eagle Gorge”, Dead Indian Pass, Cody, Buffalo Bill Reservoir, Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway, Sylvan Pass, Yellowstone Lake, the first trip through the Hayden Valley on the way to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River, Sulphur Cauldron and the Mud Volcano geothermal area, West Thumb Geyser Basin, Lewis Falls, Rockefeller Memoriall. Hwy., Flagg Ranch and Grassy Lake Road, Grand Teton Nat’l. Park, Jenny Lake, Colter Bay, Grant Village, Old Faithful (Upper Geyser Basin), Midway Geyser Basin (Firehole Lake Drive including White Dome Geyser), Norris Geyser Basin including Steamboat Geyser and the Porcelain Basin, Grand Prismatic Spring, Black Sand Basin, West Yellowstone, Hegben Lake (and the huge flock of ducks), Quake Lake in the Madison River Valley, Big Sky, and Bozeman.

HIGHLIGHTS: the waterfalls, Old Faithful day especially walking it all and the excellent luck with so many geysers going off, the Bison “parade” (numerous people mentioned this); the Norris Basin day especially the colorful bacteria, the group/new friends, the first (really close) Bison (a real crowd pleaser), the geothermal features (mentioned by many), all of it, “my first view through the scope, ever”, the gorge along the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, the number of great waterfalls, Old Faithful and Black Sand Basin, hearing and seeing the loon, the Golden Eagles and the Bald Eagles, Clark’s Nutcracker, the Mammoth Hot Springs formations, the walk and view from Artist Point at the end of the waterfall day, the weather, the Moose Drool hat, FUN!, the amazing landscapes ala the moon or “Mad Max”, the big bull Elk at Grant Village, the prolonged viewing of the Bison heard during which all types of behaviors were witnessed, the quiet of the early morning bird walks, so many dramatic “skyscapes”, the geyser geezers/gurus, the West Thumb (lakeside) setting and dramatic colors including the distant fire, and the Lamar and Hayden Valleys with their herds of big animals and beauty.

several- less than 10 x- more than 10 xx- more than 100

Canada Goose- x.
American Wigeon- x. Especially on the morning bird trip from Lake Village.
Mallard- x.
Blue-winged Teal- several.
Northern Shoveler- several?
Green-winged Teal- x.
Canvasback- several females.
Redhead- one excellent view of an adult male in good light. .
Lesser Scaup- x. The commonest breeding duck.
Bufflehead- one female.
Barrow’s Goldeneye- x-xx. A real pleasure to have this be the common goldeneye species.
Common Merganser- several.
Eared Grebe- one with the goldeneyes at West Thumb then a small flock at Lake (Grant Village).
Western Grebe- at least two, Buffalo Bill Cody Lake? .
American White Pelican- several-x, at Buffalo Bill Cody Lake as we left Cody.
Double-crested Cormorant- at least one
Great Blue Heron- several.
Osprey- several.
Bald Eagle- several, including an adult eating a fish with Jeannette and Mara only plus the two immature birds at Grant Village.
Red-tailed Hawk- x. The most common hawk.
American Kestrel- several, by Bob only while driving?.
Merlin- one, seen our first night in the park.
American Coot- x, with young/teenagers! Plus the huge flock on Hebgen Lake.
Sandhill Crane- a pair feeding in Hayden Valley.
Spotted Sandpiper- one at the waterfront of Grant Village.
Ring-billed Gull- one or two.
California Gull- x+. At the Grant Village waterfront.
Rock Pigeon- in the cities.
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher- several.
Northern “Red-shafted” Flicker- x. Surprisingly the only woodpecker
Gray Jay- x, pale headed compared to ours in the northeast. Quite a few good looks.
Clark’s Nutcracker- x. Very conspicuous at Mammoth
American Magpie- x.
American Crow- x, but mostly absent from Yellowstone.
Common Raven- x-xx.
Horned Lark- several as we drove along so probably seen by Bob only.
Red-breasted Nuthatch- one or two.
American Dipper- seen briefly by Bob at Lewis Falls.
Western Bluebird- several.
Mountain Bluebird- several-x, especially near where we saw the best Pronghorn.
Townsend’s Solitaire- ? Likely.
American Robin- several.
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing- several-x, especially at Earthquake Lake.
Yellow-rumped “Audubon’s” Warbler- x-xx.
Common Yellowthroat- one or two.
Western Tanager- at least one at Quake Lake.
Spotted Towhee- at least one.
Chipping Sparrow- several.
Vesper Sparrow- several.
White-crowned Sparrow- ?.
Dark-eyed “pink-sided” Junco- x.
Black-headed Grosbeak- heard only.
Red-winged Blackbird- x.
Western Meadowlark- one along the roadside.
Brewer’s Blackbird- x-xx. The common blackbird.
Common Grackle- x. In Bozeman.
Pine Siskin- several.
House Sparrow

Elk (Wapiti)- x, highlighted by the big bull scraping the velvet off his antlers for those up early one morning.
American Bison- xx, with highlights including the first really close Bison plus the “parade” near the Lake.
Pronghorn- several.
Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep- especially well seen by Jeannette and Mara. Not sure if that makes an extra night in Minneapolis worth it or not!
Mule (Blacktail) Deer- several seen by most of the group.
Coyote- two.
White-tailed Jackrabbit- by some at Mammoth.
Muskrat- one.
Red Squirrel
Pika- RQ only.
Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel- one or two.
chipmunk species- several. Most likely Least Chipmunk.
Flying Grasshoppers with colorful wings.

“NY/NJ” dance line on the “Golden Eagle Gorge” bridge-

Robert A. Quinn
October 2011

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