The Mollie Pack Returns to Lamar Valley

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Day 5

Thursday, May 16, 2024

            The Mollies were back in Lamar Valley today.  It seems like they show up every other morning; they’re in the valley, playing and chasing bison, then they take off for a day, probably to Cache Creek, then return.  This morning the wolves were moving west through the sage flats around the old Druid rendezvous site.  I counted five grays, at least one collared, and three blacks, at least one collared, but other watchers had a final count of eleven wolves. 

            The pack milled around the sage and a few went down to the river bottom where there was an old carcass.  A gray and a black tore off pieces and ran through the sage with their prize.  The wolves continued to move around the sage, sometime gathering together, wagging tails in excitement.  Bison were scattered in the sage and flats when a bison and her calf somehow managed to be separated from the herd.  The wolves took notice and attacked.  Another bison moved in to help, but the wolves took the calf.  I went back to the car, not wanting to watch.  We moved down the road after that, leaving the wolves lying flat out and the two bison watching over the calf. 

           The bald eagle has moved out of the nest, perching on a branch just alongside it, watching the two eaglets.  One eaglet stretches its head and neck, lifts its wings; it still has a way to go until it can leave the nest.  The Slough Creek den was quiet this morning.  907F was bedded just below the den and stayed there; it seems to be her new favorite place.  Aside from 907F, we didn’t see any other pack members.  A coyote roamed through the sage near the ponds. 

            After watching the den site, we drove up Tower Road to Calcite where a black bear sow and two cubs were entertaining visitors.  The two cubs were up a pine tree, stuffed in between the branches, their little faces staring out at us.  Their mother was at the base of the tree, out of sight.  The bears were hard to see as they were on the far side of a slope, but later crossed the road into the woods.  We spent the rest of the morning looking for wolves and searching for pica at Hellroaring.  The picas were elusive; not one appeared at the Hellroaring trail site, but we did see two across the road.  Such funny, cute creatures. 

            Something I always wanted to do is walk the trail to the Crystal Creek pen., we started in that direction, walking up the Specimen Ridge Trail keeping an eye out for the old Junction Butte den site that was on the south side of the road.  We scoured the area, crossing the creek three times and walking through the sage.  We must have walked on the site even though we didn’t know it.  It’s beautiful there among the rolling hills, willows, stream winding through tall grass. 

            The rest of the afternoon we went from place to place:  Tower Road looking for black bears, Tower Junction to see the subadult grizzly, Lamar Valley to see if the Mollies were still around.  Dunraven Pass is open, so tomorrow we may try again to see Raspberry, Jam Snow and her cubs. 


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