A Beary Good Day in the Tetons
I arrived at the Gros Ventre Campground in Kelly, Wyoming, just outside Jackson Hole, on Thursday, apparently bringing the unsettled weather with me.
Storm clouds, a bit of sun, rain, hail … just can’t seem to escape this kind of weather this year. Does combine at times to produce some dramatic shots though. The above image is the scene as I exit the Gros Ventre Campground on what turned out to be a very rare, exciting day in the Grand Teton National Park.
On Saturday of the Memorial Day Weekend, I had originally planned to just stay home and avoid the holiday crowds, but at 5:30 in the morning when I caught a glimpse of a little bit of sun through the storm clouds at sunrise, I decided I would venture out, hoping the holiday crowds might be sleeping in..
I drove about thirty miles north on the main road to an area referred to as Pilgrim Flats and couldn’t believe my eyes when I spied a very healthy looking grizzly with two large cubs grazing in the flats not more than hundred yards off the side of the road.
And more amazing yet, early morning golden light and no rain!
I was able to position myself with the sun to my back and couldn’t believe that the bears seemed very content to do their thing and were oblivious to myself and some other early morning photographers who were able to take advantage of this incredible opportunity.
When Mom stopped grazing and called the cubs in to nurse, I just couldn’t believe how fortunate I was to have abandoned my plan to stay home on this holiday weekend.
Don’t think I would want to ever see those claws up close and personal.
Very healthy two year old cubs and obviously, a very experienced mother.
After spending the better part of two hours with these guys, and with crowds gathering, I departed Pilgrim Flats and continued up the highway to see what else I might run into.
On my return south on the highway, about two miles north of where I originally encountered these bears, I saw them coming out of the woods heading down to a small pond and pulled over to see if I could get any different type of shots. But by this time traffic was getting very heavy and my stopping started a huge ” bear jam ” on the highway. Just incredible how quickly the road backed up and people stopped in the middle of the road, on both sides, people darting in and out of traffic, just chaotic, and not my cup of tea. So, I left #399 and her cubs to the holiday crowds and hurried home to get my shots on the computer to see if I captured anything worthwhile in my early morning encounter with this star of the bear world.
An Obsessed Mountain Bluebird
While I have had other birds, at other campgrounds, be attracted to their reflection in the motorhome’s mirrors, I have never run into one as obsessed as this female Mountain Bluebird.
She shows up at sunrise and returns all throughout the day to try and discourage this interloper she sees in the mirror, trying to intrude on her territory.
Other times I have observed this kind of behavior, it has always been a male bird and I have never seen one so aggressively fight off this perceived intruder. She was making such a mess of the mirror that I finally had to go and wrap a plastic bag over the mirror, whereupon she turned her attention to the other other mirror, that she had previously ignored. Now both mirrors are wrapped in plastic, but she still shows up several times a day to check on the intruders she knows must be there but that she can no longer see.
Next post, another bear encounter at the same location, but a different bear!
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