Monday, February 8, 2010

Wolves and Wolf Watchers

Wolves are the stars of winter wildlife watching in the park. People visit the park often enough to get to know the different wolf personalities, and some wolf watchers have the number of their favorite wolf (collared wolves get a number) on their vanity license plates--Like "YNP 21" or "Wolf 302". It's quite a subculture. Do you know there are also geyser watchers?

Viewing is usually from the road and often at quite a distance. Scopes are required to see anything, and there are some huge telephoto lens. Below we are watching a group of wolves which are beyond the trees that are between the buses and the background ridge.

People moved up to the rise on the other side of the road to get a better look.

The photo below is of the the same wolves that were being watched in the above photos, only taken the day before. These wolves were just above the road. The photo was taken with our new 300mm lens on maximum zoom, while I was shivering. It gets cold standing around doing nothing. I'm surprised you can see anything.

There are four wolves in the picture (and a wolf shaped rock). The wolves up by the tree are members of the silver pack of four wolves. Named for the seated silver colored wolves. The black one below the tree may be a male (wolf 146) trying to either join the pack or woo away a female. They females weren't showing a lot of interest in him.

If you are interested, Ralph Maughan's blog is a good source of information on the goings on of the Yellowstone wolves, and those outside the park too.

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