Folks, thank you all for the kind comments and I hope I haven't bored you all. It really was a special holiday to celebrate my 60th birthday and retirement so special thanks must go to Mrs Bob for making it happen. I have been lucky enough to have been that way before but on a family holiday when the scenery and activities took up most of the time - this time Mrs Bob allowed me all the time I wanted in Yellowstone, The Tetons and Rocky Mountain Park to look at and photograph as many creatures as I cared to. In fact she became my chief scout as I did most of the driving and there are several birds I would have missed if not for her.
The majority of these pictures were taken from lay bys in the parks or on fairly short walks to features such as waterfalls, lakes, thermal springs and geysers. I don't think any walk we did was more than 5 miles and often they were much shorter, though some were relatively strenuous. However, we never di any serious backcountry exploring or hiking, so imagine what extras we might have seen if we had. The important thing just seemed to be to spend some time looking closely - its such big country - and to look out for what other people are up to and not be afraid to ask them what they are looking at. If we hadn't asked people we would never have seen that Great Horned Owl nest with the Owlets in it. The photographs don't really do justice to the entertainemnt we got at that site - the chicks were desperately trying to fly, feeding time was excellent etc.
The one thing I would recommend is taking a scope ( ore renting one, there are places at Yellowstone where you can rent a Swarovski scope for 30dollars a day!) as some of the distances are enormous. Although my crops of the Bald Eagle nest were poor, the scope gave us a much better view of the chicks.
The one thing that I missed that I really wanted to see was wolf - everytime we looked for them, we missed them and perhaps we should have hooked up with one of the official trips - we didn't realise till too late that some of the wolves are collared and tracked. That didn't guarantee that the official trips always got there though(-:) as the wolves cover a large territory and sightings often depend on how close to the roads the Buffalo and Elk herds were when the wolves made kills.
I compensated for this and made a visit to the town of West Yellowstone where there is the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Centre. There they have 9 Grizzly bears who otherwise would have been sentenced to death as they had been caught in towns too many times. They have a large enclosure with pond, trees, bushes, rocks, logpiles etc and every hour or so the keeprs hide food and then relkease a couple of the bears into the area. There is a good viewing area and you get too see how the bears search for food, how strong they are, how long their claws are etc as there is less scrub rush around, as there is on most of my photos. They also have a pair of 16 month old grizzly brothers who, after feeding, spend the rest of the time play wrestling. They also had a pair of Alaskan Coastal grizzlies that were enormous - 750 and 900 lbs respectively. They have a similar set up for their wolf pack so I did get some pictures at last, though not really what I had hoped for.
There are lots of other things to do out there too - we did a couple of trail rides on horseback in the parks, there are lots of opportunities for whitewater rafting at all grades, canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking as well as hiking and camping.
But for me, this time it was all about the animals and birds.
I managed to photograph 46 different bird species(though 2 are unidentified and the Waxwings I originally identified incorrectly) and 16 different mamals, though I know that I saw several more of each eg Crows, Magpies, Turkey Vultures, European Starlings to name but a few of those.
Thanks again for your time and I hope that what I have posted over the last week inspires some of you to make it out there sometime.
My wife's favourites were the Hummingbirds (especially on the nests) and the Pelicans flying.
My own favourite's were my first picture's of the Grizzly Bear feeding - we were among the first people to see it, which is always quite a buzz - and finding the American Dipper nest at the side of the waterfall and ......
Bob, happily retired(-:)
My Local Patch here
See my photos here.
Hi Bob that's one impressive list and a great summary,it sounds like you've had a great time over there.
I've really enjoyed reading everyone of your posts with fantastic photos.
Can i make one suggestion,why not edit your post and put a link in to each of the parts in order so that anyone coming across this post in the future will be able to look at them.
My photos are on Flickr and Website
Alan, I see the sense in what you are saying but I don't really know how to achieve that. The reason I did several parts was because there are roughly 200 photios in the whole thing and it would have been far too much at once - it took long enough to compile each part as it was.
Any tips on how to do what you suggest?
Thanks Alan. I think I have it now, though my links are showing as post titles rather www.rspb etc. they still seem to work though. How did you get to the www.rspb bit?
Open each of the threads in new tabs/windows in turn highlight the www.etc in the address bar and copy that then paste it into this thread
Bob, it sounds as though you have had the most marvellous holiday - I've had visitors the last few days so have taken just the quickest of looks but should have time now to go back and enjoy the photos properly. It sounds from what you have written that Mrs Bob has been an absolute star! Glad you both had such a good time and enjoy your retirement!
Thanks Christine, but going as far as saying Mrs Bob was an absolute star is pushing it a bit(-:) glad you enjoyed the pictures.
Alan thanks for putting the links in for the various parts. I never thought of doing it that way, I went and linked each part to the next but your way is very good too.
The weather forecast suggests I might even get out in the UK again tomorrow(-:).