Showing posts from March, 2010

From the Yellowstone adventurist Cara Fadel

Luke and I had the opportunity to join Jesse for a brief, yet incredibly satisfying 29 hours in Yellowstone. We came for the second of the two-day bison survey and joined Greg, Megan, Claire and M.C. with the mission of counting all of the bison in the study area. 1, 2, 3…849, 850 bison! Sticking with the theme of counting, I thought I would list my top 10 favorite memories from the trip. In no particular order:

1. Rescuing a great horned owl from the side of the highway who had apparently been hit by a car. She was affectionately named Pricilla, and appropriately called Illa for short. She was very sick. Sadly, we were later informed that she did not survive more than 24 hours. R.I.P. Illa.
2. Entering the park when it was clearly closed to the public. My memories of Yellowstone have always included waiting in long lines in one of the four lanes entering into the park and paying a fee at the collection booth. I felt very privileged and a little mischievous driving into the park witho…

The Answers

The Mountain:  It be Mt. Moran (good job Luke!).  That was a tricky one, since you would assume that it is a mountain in Yellowstone since I hardly leave this place.
The Coyote:  My best guess is that it is the effects of mange (good job Swen!).  It's the only critter we've seen with such problems. We haven't seen that coyote since.  And yes, you too can make your car look like this coyote, by purchasing an CB radio kit from, and slapping an antennae on the rear of your car!*  

*Shameless advertising, I know!  For those who don't know, Right Channel Radios is owned by my good friend Andrew.
The old familiar song of the Western meadowlark floating across Fountain Flats was the herald of spring to me.  Even though the several past days have been delayeringly (I made up that word and I like it, so I had to use it again) warm and sunny, and the snow has melted extensively everywhere, I hadn’t come to the realization of spring until several days ago.  The bluebird day was complemented by the first small flock of mountain bluebirds which guided our car down the road as they flew from plow-stake to plow-stake in front of us.  Killdeers called out their territories harshly.  Hairy woodpeckers were heard drumming on the loudest dead tree they could find.  The first sandhill crane pair flew in to Fountain Flats without making a sound.  The bison have flooded into the study area, seeking those now snow-free meadows where they clip the miniscule amount of new green leaves that are growing up and through last year’s matted old growth.  I have even found the tiniest of flowers growing…
There is much to much to say...where to start...hmm...  Lets go by topic!

Birthday Weekend:
Revisiting the subject of my birthday, my good buddy Jon came to visit over that weekend.  I don't know why he keeps returning...I'm always forcing him on these death marches through dog-hair or traipses across rivers while wearing snowshoes.  I guess he gets to experience what being a field biologist is really like:  tripping on your own snowshoes, falling headfirst into the snow, getting whacked in the face by needled branches, ripping the seams in your favorite gloves, crashing sideways into the cold water of the Gibbon River, whipping around on blisteringly cold mornings on snowmobiles.  Jon endured all these things with great humility and humor.

However, alongside all these pride-decimating events in the field, Jon got to experience the rewards of it:  intimate elk encounters, wolves surprising us from the woods and howling from ridge-tops into the valley below, lunches i…