Back to Slough Creek from the moose and osprey
… nada from the restroom/dumpster area either out to the carcass or out to the den. But then we walk up to pre-Bob’s Nob, a gravelly uneven but roaded hike for “only” one-quarter mile or so. Bob carries his 50 lbs of camera equipment & tripod, I carry the scope and tripod. Pretty amazing because Bob is 80-ish with two hip surgeries, one knee surgery, and one ankle surgery. … Viewing and conversation with others pretty much confirms wolf activity at the kill / carcass on the south side of road is done. (Even the crows and ravens are not picking at it, and so wolves are even more unlikely to be there.)
Then we focus on the den … bison & elk are milling around it! … we wait ½ hour so in the cold, and the female comes out. We can only see her with the scope … when she’s in movement. A grey-ish black female with reddish accents. Beautiful. She looks as tired as you would expect a mom to be who is basically spending 24/7 with her 5 to 8 kids!!
She walks about a bit, and then she flops all the way down to rest and becomes barely visible. Nobody is quite sure, but the elk and bison probably feel safe around an active den site since the wolves would not want a large carcass near the den, which might attract another predator that could kill their pups.
Someone hiking up Slough Creek Trail the day before came across a Grizzly on a carcass at the first meadow lake. It was running away from him at 25 yards. He would not have been ready for it, if it had charged him. NPS closed off the trail. But the news of a carcass inland from the road and den, made folks think the best theory for the absence of wolves visible from the road (save the den wolf) was that the wolves would have gone further up and in to feast on the fresher carcass.
While we’re driving back, bison … mule deer and white tail. This is when Bob rattles off the names of a lot of the birds at the Blacktail ponds/lakes. I can’t keep up with the names! 🙂 We drive on out … finishing up for the morning and my time in Yellowstone …