DAY FOUR - Tuesday, May 25


I can tell it’s a beautiful morning, even in the dark. The birdies are singing like crazy.

I begin at Slough in our usual spot today, with Susan & Reve, Frank and Rick.

We find many wolves bedded in the den area today along the crest of the gully ridge below the sage den. The Junctions seem to be very well fed so perhaps they are taking the day off from hunting today.

I can identify 907F in one spot, with two or three pups sleeping next to her.

The alpha female lies just above the sage den, with several more pups around her. There are a few adults resting near the eastern trees and two others near the western trees.

907 gets up for a stretch, then heads down to the spring meadow for a drink. 5 pups follow her, bouncing along, romping with each other. Two of them try balancing on a fallen log, others scramble to the top of boulders. The Spring meadow is a wonderful new playground for them, and we just love seeing them there.

1276F is not content. In fact, both she and the alpha female seem a little antsy. They both try to herd the pups back up the hill. 1276 tries again to lift a pup in her mouth.

But the pups are bold enough to do what they want this morning, and the two nervous mothers are forced to stand and watch.

Later in the day, good old 1048 arrives, bringing food. The wolves mob him, and the pups have learned to run fast in order to get the goodies. One black pup gets a solid-ish chunk and proudly trots off with it.

A black yearling is particularly cute with one of the black pups, following it t downhill, pawing at it gently.

1228F and the beautiful gray are here today, too, as is the still limping gray male. He is so much better than when I first noticed his limp back in April.

There are other animals to watch, today, too. A small herd of elk grazes in Slough flats, along with the usual bison. There are sandhills in various spots. Today the pronghorn seem skittish, dashing here and there.

Around 11AM, Melba arrives with a special delivery for me. I just bought a new Swarovski scope with an extender. The extender has not arrived yet, but when it does, I’ll be able to count pups with the best of them!

Rick radios from Picnic. He is watching 1229F. She’s one of my favorites, so with a lull in the activity here, I pack up to drive there. But when I reach the road, Bill has the grizzly sow with the two cubs on Northern Divide ridge, so I stop to see them.

The cubs are so fun to watch, I end up helping a bunch of visitors see them. Then I turn the scope around and show them wolves!

Around 12:30 I finally head east. The greening of Lamar is progressing. Today it seems to have achieved the color and vibrancy that it so often in my mind’s eye when I think about Yellowstone.

During my break in Silver Gate I spend about a half hour experimenting with my new scope. But I’m not ready for it yet, so I take Layla with me when I head out again around 6:20. It’s a comfortable 52 degrees.

Laurie got a text from Mark & Carol that a Junction hunting party left the den around 4PM, heading west. They found the group from Boulder but lost them heading further west.

We see a single moose at Warm Creek and get to Slough around 7PM.

Things are pretty quiet, although we do see the alpha female. She walks from the western trees to the sage den. We had hoped that some pups would come out to greet her but they don’t. She seems disappointed, too so she goes back uphill and beds. She repeats this pattern twice more. The third time she approaches the den the pups come pouring out.

They mob her and she nurses them.

A while later, an adult gray comes down to where the pups are roaming around. She lies down, rolls on her back and the pups crawl all over her, which is seemingly what she wanted them to do.

So cute!

While several pups are racing, romping and wrestling, one black pup takes a journey to the eastern trees all by himself!

The weather is chilly and the sky is overcast, which makes it much easier to scope. But it also brings the dark sooner than usual.

We head back east and at Confluence we see a pretty light-colored fox on the north side. It’s so gray it almost looks white. A bison herd is crossing the river, and for some reason only known to bison they choose a really steep bank. Maybe they are teaching the calves how to deal with that?

Today I saw: 3 grizzly bears (2 coy), bison, sandhills, elk, 1 moose, bighorn sheep, 22 Junction wolves (including the alphas, 907F, 1048M, 1228F, 1275M, 1276F, several others plus 7 pups 4 & 3) and the spirits of Allison and Richard.

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