This year was our fourth visit to Yellowstone in the spring, we have also been to Yellowstone three times in the fall. The first grizzly that we spotted in the park was on our first trip during the spring, end of May. We headed out to the Lamar Valley right away when we got to the park. Out in Lamar the traffic was stopped because of a male grizzly that was hovering around a kill in the river near where the Soda Butte Creek and Lamar converge. The rangers were not taking any chances with this bear. They did not let anyone get out of there car and eventually brought in a bear trap to capture the bear and move it away from people. We did manage to get a couple of pics from our car window. That was the only grizzly that we spotted on that trip.
Our next spring trip we managed to photograph a female grizzly with a couple of cubs as they crossed Swan Lake Flats. This also occurred on the day that we arrived and it was our only grizzly sighting of the trip. Our third spring trip, 2007, was a bust for spotting grizzlies, just as all of our fall trips have been.
This years trip started out the same as our first two spring trips. Out in the Lamar Valley we spotted a grizzly on our first day in the park, but unlike our past trips that was only the beginning of our grizzly bear sightings.
While traveling to the fishing bridge on Tuesday we spotted what looks to be grizzly tracks. This is not something that you would want to see if you were of hiking in the woods.
Out near Grizzly Lake this bear demonstrated the fine art of ground squirrel digging. The hump, over the grizzlies shoulders, is one trait that distinguishes it from the black bear. The hump is a mass of muscles which helps the grizzly to dig up roots, bugs and rodents, such as ground squirrels.
Grizzlies are omnivores, they eat both meat and vegetation. This bear was getting his roughage over near the Twin Lakes. Since Spring in Yellowstone came late this year, just as it has in many places across North America, a lot of the area, especially the higher elevations was still covered in snow. I believed that this forced many of the bears down to lower elevations, and closer to the park roads, in order to find food. This is probably the reason why we spotted so many grizzly this year.
While the snow may have helped us to have more grizzly viewing opportunities, it also created problems for us at times. There were several times during the trip that we came across grizzlies but we were unable to get any pics due to the weather. Photographing a dark furred animal in low light with bright white snow flying in front of it, is a photographer's nightmare.