A Wolf Pup Appears and Watching More Coyote Puppies

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Day 7

Saturday, May 18, 2024

       I looked out the window around 5:30 a.m. and light was just beginning to shine on the mountains across from the cabins.  It was 28º this morning when we left the cabin.  A moose grazed in the meadow near Warm Springs as we passed by.  What I noticed most were his tall, white socks.  It was nice to see a moose so close to Silver Gate.

Lamar Valley was quiet except for a grizzly high up on Mt. Norris and too far away to see well.  This is the second day the Mollies haven’t been seen in the Valley, so maybe they have gone back to Pelican Valley.  If the alpha female has denned, she will need help.

We drove straight to Slough Creek, hoping for some activity.  At first there were no wolves, but after a while a gray wolf came out of the den carrying something in her mouth which looked like a black pup.  Another gray wolf ran up and the two wolves seemed to have a dispute over the pup.  907 took the pup and returned it to the den.  The pups must be about 2-1/2 weeks old now and should be approaching the den entrance.  We left for a while, but came back later to see two gray wolves come out of the den and then bed; one in the trees above and to the right and the other bedded below the den.

The highlight of the day was watching a coyote den in the hillside across from Soda Butte cone.  There was no activity at first, but when the female coyote came trotting across the slopes, four puppies poured out of the den.  The mother was calm as her puppies followed her around the sage.  The puppies pranced around the den site, rolled on their backs and crawled over another coyote that must be their father.  They climbed over him, licked his face and bit his ears.  Both coyote parents looked great with full, fluffy coats and seemed like good parents.

We drove back and forth between Little America, Lamar Vally, Soda Butte Valley and Tower Road.  We have been looking for badgers all week when we finally spotted a badger waddling through the grass in Little America.  They are funny looking creatures with their striped faces and pointed noses and have eluded us all week.  The black bear sow and two coy remained hidden on the forested slopes overlooking Calcite.  Perhaps the sow has had enough of the crowds, even this early in the season.  We also saw a number of beautiful water birds and birds at Floating Island Lake – Ruddy ducks, a Mallard, American coots, yellow-headed blackbirds and a yellow-rumped warbler.

It stayed cool and windy all day.  Before leaving the Park, we checked on the great horned owl nest once more.  The female was in the nest and we could see a fuzzy head next to her. We stretched out this last day as best we could, walking along Soda Butte Creek and watching wolves and other wildlife, wanting to make this day last as long as possible.