Saturday, January 19, 2019

Yellowstone 2018--The Rut

I had visited Yellowstone in the winter several times because it is at its best, few tourists, snowstorms and as always, the challenge of finding wolves.  But the dedicated wolf watchers are always there searching for the elusive predator. Needless to say, no wolves close to be photographed but there was a better show.

The Bighorn sheep were in rut and was able to witness the whole complex ritual of who gets the ewe.  The males walk around trying to impress the prospective bride but there are others striving for the same price.  Lots of posturing among the gladiators by standing in two feet trying to intimate the competitor…until they ran straight at each others and “clash”; the sound of the impact.  They walk around a bit , pretend to ignore each other, may go and chew some grass but  the battle is repeated several times to my delight.

The winner claims the ewe and go an isolated spot, courtship starts with the male teasing the female with the legs teasing her to stand.  The act is accomplished and then the exhausted suitor goes to sleep.  This routine is repeated several times interrupted by rest intermissions while the looser just observe and dreams.

The moose is busy in winter looking for food and usually seen at a distance but in occasions they get close to the roads given great photo opportunities.

Pronghorn antelopes are abundant and found in herds, it is a beautiful animal with huge black eyes. They are mostly found in the grassy fields at the NW entrance to the park; I have seen them there every winter I had visited.

And then the ubiquitous bison, probably the most abundant animal in the park….while bother to take a photo when everyone else has one; because is there.  The one below is licking salts from the sides of the creek followed by a photo of a young one just jumping of joy.

Can’t leave the park without visiting Cooke City; it appears to be fading away with less business remaining opened and I do not think that is just for the winter.  Several properties are for sale as this white building; is just a shell with the back that collapsed several years ago.  Still is a very busy place for snowmobilers.

Yellowstone is a winter’s paradise for landscape photographer with gorgeous sunrises and sunsets as well as the frozen lakes and creeks.  A thousand opportunity but it is rough, the deep snow and the low temperature are great challenges but the image. About the death tree, I had been photographing is for more than 10 years when it was still alive and the following decay; a slow process.  Everytime I return I expect it to be lying on the ground but still perdure.