Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Big Update

So because I have updated in a while, and because over the past week I've been extremely busy and seen a lot of things, I'm clumping the last week together in one huge mega entry. Enjoy.

It's Like Wildfire!!
First off, it's fire season in Yellowstone and wouldn't you know it, the lake has become the epicenter for forest fires this year. We've had one fire or another burning continuously across the lake from where I live for the past three weeks. Late last week, the biggest of the fires started up and forced the closure of the East Entrance road. It's still closed more than a week since the fires began. They've also set up a Fire Camp for the firefighters to stay in as they suppress the fire. Pretty neat stuff. Even today there is a fire burning!

Last hike with Jenn.

So Jenn, my YNPBFF, left on Tuesday morning to return home to Billings, MT. But before she went, on Monday, Jenn, Ba'ra (her roommate), and I went for a hike around Ice Lake and to the Little Gibbon Falls. The lake was nothing to write home about, but the falls were awesome. They fell 25 feet and you could climb down to the base and even right up the waterfall itself. Pretty neat.

2 Nights at Grebe and Cascade Lakes with the Birds.

For the first time this season, I was able to go on a back country trip and do some camping in the outdoors away from people. I went with my friend Sue Mae from Malaysia, who had never gone camping before. It proved to be a really good experience.

We intended to go to the lake to camp and fish, but we ended up going on a really awesome bird watching trip. When we reached Cascade Lake, we found a pair of Trumpeter Swans, the largest waterfowl in North America and one of the rarest, and watched them as they cruised around the lake.

When we got to Grebe Lake we saw a ton of ducks, Barrow's Goldeneye and even a few Loons, swimming about under the sunset.

When we woke up in the morning we tried our hand at fishing, but the wind soon picked up and made any attempts at throwing a fly futile. So decided to just lounge around on the beach. Overhead we saw bald eagles, ospreys, and hawks flying about. It was nice.

Around 1pm we left our campsite headed back to Cascade Lake to camp there for the night. Just as we were leaving the lake behind, we saw two ospreys flying really close together overhead. Then out of nowhere a small hawk, not sure of the type, came in flying right at one of the osprey. Turns out the second osprey and the hawk were trying to steal a fish that the first osprey had clutched in its talons!! The osprey and the hawk locked talons twice fighting over the fish and plummeted to the lake below only to let go and fly up just before hitting the ground!! This happened over 5 minutes until the osprey with the fish was able to fly high enough to make its escape.

About half way to Cascade Lake, Sue Mae saw a large bird fly across the trail in front of us. As she was showing me where, another huge bird fly right overhead not more than 10 feet above me!! The birds turned out to be a pair of Great Grey Owls, the largest and one of the rarest owls in North America. They sat in two trees "talking" to each other as they let us take their picture. Then fly off a bit towards what sounded like another owl. Sure enough, there was a third owl a little bit away in another tree. I'm guessing it was their baby as it was a bit smaller than the other two. We ended up watching them for over 30 minutes as they called to one another, some of which I have on video. It was awesome.

When we finally reached Cascade Lake, we set up the tent and went to the lake to filter some water. There we saw two mother ducks, maybe blue winged teals, with their ducklings in two right next to each other. What was odd was that another baby bird was swimming right beside them. It was a Western Grebe and almost looked like it was trying to be a duck. It was follow the ducks, then the ducks would follow it. Too cute.

The next morning we left the campsite as two blue herons fly over some lily pads. It was an amazing trip!

Also my spotting scope came today. Can't wait to try it out!!

37 days...

1 comment:

Yo' YNP~BFF said...

Hey you.... HOLY BIRDS!!! I'm really really glad that your camping trip was fun! I love these pics but they make me want to be there even more. It's been kinda hard to be home...I'd much rather be in the mountains : (
I will talk to you soon! Good luck with the last few days of Beep Beep!!!!!!!!