DAY THREE - Sunday, April 17

EASTER SNOW

Overnight snow was predicted but we got twice as much! A new covering of 3-4 inches covers the ground and the road.

April continues to be a snowy month!

However, the level of accumulation drops as I drive west. By Footbridge itís nearly dry but when I get to Picnic I find icy. Itís gets worse between the Ranch and Dorothyís mostly due to wind. Itís still cold, only 20 at 6AM.

Itís a tad foggy around here, too, but clears by the time I reach Slough. Doug is here as usual but he has nothing in sight. Bill radios that a black just crossed the road at Curve, heading south.

We go there.

We find many prints in the snow around the pullout and soon find the Junctions. They are to the south, on a low, forested hill.

I see seven total; 907F, 1048M, 1341F, 2 uncollared grays and 2 uncollared blacks. One is a cocoa yearling.

They are generally moving east. We lose them and find them as they move through the trees. Someone goes east to Straightaway and finds them in a gap to the south.

We go there and I see one more black, one of my favorites, 1229F. One of the uncollared grays stops to dig, then rolls around, legs in the air. As the rest of them trot by, they stop to sniff here, too. One finds something to chew, so I suspect it is a very old carcass.

Most of the wolves disappear in the trees but 1048M has found a bedding spot to his liking, so he remains in view a while. A little later, I see 1229F, ever restless, heading back west.

Around 10:30 the temp is 28 with thin clouds overhead. But the wind picks up making it a bit chilly.

The slush that froze on the road and made driving so slippery is finally beginning to melt. Doug radios that he has a black in the den area.

Laurie & Dan and I drive back to Slough, setting up our scopes right at road level. We see a black coming up the lion meadow. It stops at the goal post tree, moves past the crescent rock and into the Diagonal forest. I notice that this wolf has a very tucked tail. Laurie says sheís 1276F but neither of us can figure out why she seems so cautious.

It might mean she is on the outs with the Alpha Female (who we think might be in one of the dens). She keeps this nervous behavior all the way to the Diagonal forest, and then doubles back above the den cliff. Very weird. Laurie thinks maybe a cougar had been in the area and she smells it?

A few minutes after this I spot a black wolf approaching the Conifer-Aspen forest from the east. This wolf is likely a yearling, judging from itís casual sniffing around behavior. It wanders here and there, exploring, maybe looking for scraps? Finally, it turns and heads toward the den area.

Around 11AM, we run out of wolves to watch so we head back east. I stop at Dorothyís to watch bison for a while.

Oh, Happy Easter!

The water level in the Lamar is very low. I guess thatís normal for this time of year, but it seems less than usual. The fall part of winter was nearly snow-free, so itís good that April is delivering more.

I head further east. Just west of the Soda Cone I see a flash of orange. A bison baby! My first for this year. There is no one around so I stop and put on my flashers. The mom and baby are close so I take a few pics and a video. Sweet little thing, maybe a day or two old.

After a nice, long break I decide to drive to Round Prairie to check out a tip that someone saw 1228F there.

Itís 31 degrees at 6:20 but itís very windy. We know 1228 was visibly pregnant, that she has not been travelling with her natal pack for some time but with a new beau, an uncollared black wolf. We also know she has been localized in the Round Prairie area for the last few weeks, all of which indicates she is denning here and likely has pups.

I am surprised to see all the snow from today has already melted and roads are clear again. Itís a startling difference from this morning but very typical of April in the mountains.

We find Steve still here. He admits that the shape he thought was 1228 hasnít moved in four hours.

Because itís a rock! Oh well. Instead of a wolf, we see two moose Ė a mom and yearling calf on the far eastern side of RP.

I see mom get kind of snappy with the yearling. Hmm, maybe she is pregnant with the next generation and needs her youngster to move on?

Just before we call it a night, we see a pretty red tail hawk.

Today I saw: bison (including a new-born calf), sandhill cranes, elk, a red-tailed hawk, 2 moose, 9 Junction wolves including 907F, 1048M, 1229F, 1276F, 1341F, the skinny gray yearling, the fluffy gray yearling, a cocoa yearling and at least one uncollared black and the spirits of Allison and Richard.

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