Yellowstone in Late Winter: Bears, Wolves & Winter Birds: Mar 25—31, 2018
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A complete natural history experience focusing on wolves, grizzlies, birds, and the natural processes of Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone National Park is known throughout the world for its magnificent wildlife, spectacular geothermal features, and tremendous scenery. Created as our first national park in 1903, it is today a bastion of wilderness, harboring the greatest abundance of wildlife in the lower 48 states. In this exciting tour, Denver Holt will lead us through the north portion of the park at the end of the winter season, presenting a course on the natural history of this region.
Yellowstone is known for its mega-fauna, and bison and elk have long been symbols of the park. Grizzly Bear studies and wolf reintroductions by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in the 1990s have made these animals some of the park’s most popular, and we will spend considerable time searching for them. There are other species of mammals to look for, however, and Moose, Mule Deer, Bighorn Sheep, and Pronghorn are relatively easy to observe.
The park hosts a number of bird species during the winter, and our visit should produce Bald and Golden eagles, Rough-legged Hawk, Black-billed Magpie, Clark’s Nutcracker, and Pinyon Jay. Specialties such as Trumpeter Swan, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Black and Gray-crowned rosy-finches, Red Crossbill, and Northern Pygmy-Owl are possible as well.
Our discussions will include the ways in which animals adapt to the extreme conditions that grip Yellowstone in winter, and predator and prey relationships with observations of wolves, elk, bison, coyote, fox, and other animals. We will observe and discuss the natural history of all these species and their effects on the ecology of Yellowstone. We will also discuss aspects of snow ecology and geothermal features such as Mammoth Hot Springs.
Our accommodations will be at Chico Hot Springs Lodge in the scenic Paradise Valley in Pray, Montana. Although modernized for today’s world, the lodge still gives the feel of old Montana.
A single accommodation tour with excellent lodging and cuisine; conditions may include cold weather and snowfall.