Monday, August 10, 2009

My World: Lamar Valley

The Lamar Valley is often referred to as the Serengeti of North America but I prefer Osborne Russell's description. Russell was a fur trader in the Rocky Mountains who kept a journal of his adventures between 1834 to 1843, which was later published. He called Lamar the Secluded Valley and described it like this, "There is something in the wild and romantic scenery of this valley which I cannot nor will I, attempt to describe but the impressions made upon my mind while gazing from a high eminence on the surrounding landscape one evening as the sun was gently gliding behind the western mountain and casting its gigantic shadows across the vale were such as time can never efface from my memory, but as I am neither Poet Painter or Romance writer I must content myself to be what I am a humble journalist and leave this beautiful Vale in obscurity until visited by some more skillful admirer of the beauties of nature who may chance to stroll this way at some future period." This was the first written record of the Lamar Valley.
I think that Russell was too modest. Lamar is the kind of place that is beyond description but I think that Russell did a great job, better then I could ever hope to do. Fortunately I took a few pictures and, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
The Lamar Valley was formed around 13,000 years ago during the last ice age. As the glaciers receded they left this wide U-shaped valley behind, scattered with glacial pounds and large boulders which were carried by the glaciers. Today the valley is home to a wide diversity of wildlife. Ungulates, like bison, elk and pronghorn antelope can often be seen grazing in the wide open expanses.
Not all of the wildlife in Lamar is as large as the ungulates. Many different type of rodents, such as mice, chipmunks, marmots and ground squirrels live in or around the meadows of the Lamar Valley.
With such an abundance of small prey animals Lamar is good habitat for predators like coyotes. Predators help to preserve the natural balance by limiting the population of prey species.
Predators in Lamar come in many shapes and sizes. There are plenty of ground squirrels and other rodents for a mother badger to raise her family out in the sedge and grass.
Larger predators, like wolves and bears, can also be found in Lamar. During the day they rest beneath the trees on the near by hills and mountains but during the cooler morning and evening hours they are on the hunt for larger prey like deer, elk, moose or bison.
Predators can also be found in the skies above or perched on the trees that dot the valley. Raptors which can be found hunting above the fields include American kestrels, prairie falcons, red-tailed hawk, northern harrier and golden eagle as well as vultures. When darkness comes owls take over on the night shift.
Running through the middle of the valley is the Lamar River Creek. These waterways are also a great source of wildlife viewing. We spotted our first grizzly bear in Yellowstone, back in 2005, fishing in Soda Butte Creek. Over the years we have photographed many shorebirds, like spotted sandpiper, and waterfowl, like the Barrow's Goldeneye pictured above, in the Lamar River or Soda Butte Creek.
The waterways also have their own predators. Several pairs of osprey can typically be found nesting in the area. Since osprey only eat fish they spend most of their lives close to the river, creek or small lakes and ponds that dot the valley.

22 comments:

Sarah said...

Just stunning!!! I do love to see your photos!! Wonderful!! Sarah

mountain.mama said...

Wow, teeming with life certainly applies here!

Abraham Lincoln said...

This is, without any doubts on my part, one of the better posts I have seen. Well-written. Beautiful photography. You did a grand job indeed.

Sylvia K said...

I can only repeat what the others have said! Fantastic shots! Love the ones of all the animals and the scenery is gorgeous!

Terrific post, excellent job!

Have a great week!
Sylvia

Tranquility said...

What an amazing place it must be for you to have spotted so much wildlife! I don't think I saw that many creatures on our trip to Yellowstone even! And badgers? I've never seen one of those out in the wild! Lucky you!! Beautiful!

Postcards from Wildwood said...

What beautiful, beautiful wildlife photography! I enjoyed this brief peek into your world today.
Janice.

Luiz Ramos said...

Beautiful natural, poetic, painting and writing view!
Great Nature and beautiful shots.
Luiz Ramos

Texas Travelers said...

I love Lamar Valley. It has a greazt open feel to it.
Great photos and writeup.
Enjoyed the history lesson too.

To see a part of Texas, Click here.
Troy and Martha

Carver said...

What an amazing place. Fabulous shots of the wildlife and such an interesting post too!

James said...

What an amazingly wild place. Really great pictures and info.

mkreider said...

The fauna and the countryside are filled with majesty.

Guy D said...

I always admire how you capture wildlife, these pics are fantastic to say the least.

Have a great week
Guy
Regina In Pictures

sixstars said...

What a great place to visit. The wildlife photos and stories are very informative as always.

Babooshka said...

Astonishing as always and again so much wildlife I will just not see here.

Arija said...

You have outdone yourself. This is a wonderful post, a perfect balance between pictures and words. It is so informative and well written, a joy to read and admire the various birds and animals.
If you had a rating system, you would get ten stars from me.

Denise said...

Wonderful post both in photography and in narration. Thoroughly enjoyed your stunning shots with such a variety of animals in beautiful surroundings. Thank you for sharing them.

Snap said...

This was amazing! I loved the photos and the commentary. The variety of critters. Such a pleasure! Thanks!

Sally in WA said...

I love how you've captured such a wide variety of animals & birds. Spectacular!

Marites said...

what a beautiful place! and you captured the different Lamar species so beautifully. Thank you for sharing.

Reader Wil said...

What an excellent account of what you saw in the Lamar Valley! Like Abe Lincoln says:" One of the better posts of "that's My World".

sweet bay said...

Wonderful pictures. So many beautiful wildlife captures.

Tammie Lee said...

Oh my, you have captured so many wonderful images of an amazing amount of critters!
Spirithelpers