DAY THREE - Tuesday, June 15

1278M AND 1229F

I start the day with early birds Susan and Reve at Slough on our current favorite perch. When I arrive they point out several wolves in view, three or four black adults, three collared grays and 6 puppies (2/4).

The main activity happens pretty early. We see a large black wolf pinning a largish collared gray. To our surprise, the gray snaps back, and once he is allowed back up, the gray heads down to the Spring Meadow. It takes awhile but we figure out that the Junction alpha male had words with his prodigal son, 1278M, who apparently stayed at home while his new pack went back west.

After this treatment by dad (or step dad) it seems that the younger male no longer wishes to put up with the alphaís discipline.

A little later we see 1278M by himself, down in the flats, mousing and searching for forgotten scraps. He finds several, then picks up a bone which he carries a while. He eventually leaves the bone and soon sets off to the southwest.

It sure looks like he prefers his new pack to the old homestead. I joke to Susan and Reve that he reminds me of a college student, who comes home on a visit and raids the fridge.

907F has been in view, asleep in her current favorite spot on the gully ridge. She is visited by two gray pups who manage to wake her up. She plays with them a bit, then 1276 joins in. Itís sweet.

907 wanders up to the eastern trees, then circles around the Crescent Rock and down to the Spring Meadow for a drink.

Another gray, uncollared, ventures west then back east. An uncollared black male takes a jaunt further west past the parrot rock, followed by a single black pup. Once he sees the pup has followed, though, he comes back to the eastern trees, returning the pup to safety.

Another uncollared black brings a shed to a few pups playing in the gully.

As the day goes on, it seems that the pupsí favorite playground has shifted from the spring meadow to the area behind the Yellow Flower Hill. Most of that area is simply out of sight from the various lots along the campground road.

We see fewer feedings today than we saw yesterday.

Missy and Andy and I decide to leave around 9:30 to check out radio reports from Lamar.

We set up at Trash Can, where Missy quickly finds a single collared black wolf to the south just across the river. Happily this wolf turns out to be 1229F, one of my current favorites. She noses around in the river corridor, mousing a bit, sniffing out snacks here and there, like the uncollared black did last evening.

She passes a bison herd, provoking a few raised tails. She ignores then and continues west in her independent way.

A fierce gust of wind comes out of the southeast, swirling dust all over, making us grab our scopes and hats. It blusters for a full minute before easing off. That was weird!

The day is already over 80 so we pack up and head in.

At 6PM, the day is still warm (82) when I return. There is a steady, sometimes gusty wind blowing.

I join Missy and Andy already on Trash Can Hill. We find a black and follow it a long time, as the wolf tools around east of the big fan, chasing ground squirrels. It catches one and gobbles it down. Then the wolf heads west and crosses the river. then it emerges itís now backlit by the sun, giving us a sparkly treat when it shakes off the water.

Very nice!

We move to mid-point and find the wolf again. Barb arrives and tells us about her day in Hayden. Missy and Andy call it a night while Barb and I move to the Ranch.

Itís now an absolutely gorgeous evening. The temperature has cooled into the low 70ís and we have a nice breeze.

We watch a pronghorn mom, who is behaving a bit oddly. She might have a fawn stashed nearby. Around 8:45 I bid adieu to Barb and head east, meeting the Baronette fox along the way.

Today I saw: bison, sandhill cranes, elk, a fox, pronghorn, ground squirrels, 16 wolves including 15 Junctions (AM, AF, 907F, 1276F, 1229F, plus 4 other adults (4/1) and six pups (2/4) plus 1 former Junction (1278M) and the spirits of Allison and Richard.

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