Friday, April 23, 2021
At breakfast, I talk with Scott a bit more. His wife, the healthiest eater he knows, makes some awesome protein bars, which we all devour. Scott leaves by 5:45AM … Bob and I are out the door around 6:15AM.
Snow! Cloud fog … Really grateful Bob is driving. He drives these 25 miles almost every single day. A very different 25 mile commute than A2 to Detroit!!! His Toyota Prius is a champ.
Bison are less visible, most are still bedded down. They are a bit camouflaged with the light snow accumulating on their coats! Snow misting .. The bison we saw swimming last night must have got him/herself out of Blacktail Ponds/Lakes because there is no carcass in the water.
Bob sees Rick McIntyre (and Wendy?) and pulls over. !! So I get to meet Rick McIntyre whose books got me started on this wonderful immersion during the pandemic. !! He is very much a wolf mission person. He is really nice but very focused on the wolves. His works reflect a lifetime of details of wolf observation and an understandable humanization of the wolves behavior. Field observation to science creates a different voice than science to field observation. I think Bob mentioned that Rick had the unofficial record of 1,000 days (?) straight of wolf sightings in the Yellowstone ecosystem. Discipline and devotion underscore the Park Service and the excellence of the resident field artists like Bob.
Rick McIntyre has a newer model mini-SUV now, but back in the day he had an orange X-Terra. Eventually the wolf-watching tip among visitors was to “follow the guy in the orange X-Terra.” Rick seems to be the kind of guy who didn’t mind people following him so long as the focus was learning about and loving the wolves. Bob mentions the wolf biologist Jeremy Sunder-Raj who is part of the Wolf Project now. They met when Jeremy was ten and proclaimed then that he was going to be a wolf scientist. Ended up going to UMontana for their wildlife biology program, a couple internships with the NPS in the park, and now with the Wolf Project. He has faced the extra burden of “when will you be doing something that makes money?” rather than affirmation for his great character & personality, brilliance, dedication, and love of what he’s doing. Even as a young professional, he knows the lineage of the packs and the wolves, all the history, on top of their biology and behavior!
He had radioed to someone who Bob spoke with this morning that all his (Jeremy’s) signals this morning were weak, which is one more fact that fits the theory discussed in the coming entry that the wolves were further up the Slough Creek on a carcass. The Wolf Project keeps the radio scans of the signals for each of the collared wolves.
We head to Slough Creek, and nobody is seeing any wolves both for visibility reasons, and there just don’t seem to be any wolves out and about visible from the road. But, it’s fun to see and hear and ride along with the Wolf Clan this morning.