I went to Lamar Valley this morning. That valley is located in the northeast corner of the park, less than 60 miles from Canyon Village where I am camping but a long drive time-wise. They are doing major construction on about 10 miles of the road, and it is twisty and windy and goes up and over a pass so drive time is major, but today it was well worth it.
Started off as just a drive through the valley, passing some groups of cars parked along the road (watching something off in the distance). Went to the far end then returned and stopped in a pullout where a large group was parked alongside the road with cameras pointed across the road. I figured I wasn’t going to spend a lot of time trying to see wolves 2 miles away so I scanned the hills and waited a bit. A man pulled in next to me, got out and then returned for his camera gear(serious stuff) so I asked him what folks were watching. He said “badger sette”, that was enough for me. I put the long lens on the camera, grabbed the tripod and went up on the small hill where he and a few others were. Everyone was watching 2 holes across the road so I set up the camera in that direction. While I was standing there I realized there were several large holes where we were and on the side of the hill behind I were a couple of holes, one a very fresh one. I decided to keep an eye on that hole, along with the ones everyone else was watching. I also made sure I could swivel and tilt my lens easily should it be necessary. Yep, after a little while a badger stuck its head out the fresh hole. I immediately swiveled my camera around and said in a loud voice, “if you want a badger turn around.” That got everyone’s attention and we all got some fabulous shots. Interesting to note the only person who thanked me for the heads up was the guy who parked next to me, an Australian visiting here. My experience in the field looking for woodchuck earths really paid off!!
How could the day get better?!I decided to avoid the road repair and continue north up to Mammoth Hot Springs area and then come back south via the road on the west side of the park. This paid off on the way north to Mammoth when I came upon some folks watching a black bear. I got some nice shots of the sow and a very active cub. Then on the way south to the Norris area I came across a lone black bear next to a lake.