15 days in Yellowstone National Park in Winter January 2020

pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooterwestern IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,533 moderator
edited February 13, 2020 in Wildlife

My spouse and I recently spent over two weeks in Yellowstone in January 2020. This is our fourth or fifth trip to Yellowstone in winter - a couple by ourselves, and most recently with Mark Muench and Muench Workshops chasing creatures and landscapes in the winter wonderland that is Yellowstone, last month.

We saw otters, coyotes, red foxes, bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and a dozen wolves from a very long way off. We did not get close encounters with wolves like our previous winter trip, but we did see wolves at about 400 yards or more for several hours. The foxes and coyotes were very cooperative however, offering us great glimpse of their life in the snow fields in winter in Yellowstone.

Did you know that red foxes can fly? Here is my evidence

Coyotes fly too

And they sometimes come up happy with a supper in their mouth

Not every time, but enough to keep them jumping 😎

This band of coyotes sang songs to us from about a 1/3 mile aways from us - what see song to hear. Shot with an Oly OM E-M1X and a Panasonic Leica DG 100-400mm lens

I will post some more images if people are interested. I am always open to consider ways to better capture or present my images, so criticisms are welcomed.

Most were captured with a 1Dx Mk II and a Tamron 150-600 G2 optic handheld.

Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin

Comments

  • slpollettslpollett Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,095 Major grins
    edited February 14, 2020

    I say post more!! I love seeing winter photos from Yellowstone. My husband dreams of a winter trip there, but I am freezing at 60 degrees so I'm a big chicken about spending a vacation in the 'real' cold and snow. I'd love to be able to gift us one of those photo workshop trips but both of us are mere novices and really can't afford the luxury. However, I live through seeing everyone else's gorgeous images so keep posting! I really love the foxes!

    Sherry P.

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,533 moderator
    edited February 13, 2020

    I forgot to mention the bull elk too

    The fox was pretty cooperative - here it is is walking in front of our parked snow coach - and yes it WAS snowing too

    A lot of people seem to think the bison are very slow to move in winter, saving their energy and all that!

    This is to disabuse folks of the idea that bison are slow to move in winter, and hence are safe to get close to for selfies... Bison CAN gallop just fine in winter snow if they choose

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Major grins North Andover, MASuper Moderators Posts: 12,862 moderator

    Fabulous @pathfinder !
    I love the fox sequence, and the bison is quite impressive.

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,533 moderator

    Thanks Denise - and I thought the bison image was worthwhile to demonstrate the power of the bison, even in snow. Nothing to trifle with...

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Major grins North Andover, MASuper Moderators Posts: 12,862 moderator

    @pathfinder said:
    Thanks Denise - and I thought the bison image was worthwhile to demonstrate the power of the bison, even in snow. Nothing to trifle with...

    I've never understood the people who think it is OK to get close to wildlife. Those animals are powerful!

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,533 moderator

    My what big teeth you have, papa!!

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • slpollettslpollett Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,095 Major grins

    I love all your fox images, but that bull elk looks like he is posing and saying 'cheese' for you. Awesome set of pics! Thanks for posting more. :)

    Sherry P.

  • StumblebumStumblebum I shoot, therefore I am San Jose, CARegistered Users Posts: 7,933 Major grins

    Sweet! Brings back some wonderful memories!

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 21,743 moderator
    edited February 16, 2020

    "Coyotes fly too" , "My what big teeth you have, papa!!" and the bull elk are all very anthropomorphic, childlike, and make me smile.

    It's wonderful to see wildlife in their mostly natural environment.

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,533 moderator

    Yes, like the Masai Maraa, Yellowstone is a very large zoo, not a REAL wilderness anymore, although it definitely includes elements of wildness and wilderness - real predatory behaviour. Wolves, coyotes, and foxes.

    But it is charming to see how little the animals react to humans and their petroleum powered vehicles all the same. The red fox ran right by us several times, and never really seemed to be bothered by all of us.

    Glad you enjoyed them Ziggy. I did too 🙂

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • fool4thecityfool4thecity Major grins Registered Users Posts: 632 Major grins

    Can't wait to get back out to Yellowstone. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • CavalierCavalier Life is a Bokeh Foresthill, CaliforniaRegistered Users Posts: 2,359 Major grins

    Great set! Bison are one of my favorite animals - kicking up snow is great! And the foxes - just superb shots.

  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAAdministrators Posts: 11,592 moderator

    Terrific images, Jim. Loooove the fox shots. I rarely see foxes at Yellowstone. And who knew they would close the park shortly after your trip. It's very lucky you got there when you did.

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,533 moderator

    Yes, we were lucky, entirely by accident. We had folks from California and Washington state in Yellowstone in our group in late January - well after folks were already exposed in Santa Clara county it turns out. The first Covid 19 death in Santa Clara county now is reported to have occurred on February 6, so by mid-January the Corona virus was at large in California.

    We thought we were safe, even as they reported issues with Noro viruses in Yellowstone. GI disturbances of course, can also occur with Corona virus infections.

    Not sure I gave that much thought in January... When did they close Yellowstone? I didn't notice that when we returned home - I had a couple minor medical issues so I was busy in February. And by March we were Staying in Place in Indiana, and still are.

    We saw red foxes several times - the most I have ever had in Yellowstone, and saw lots and lots of coyotes. A few wolves, all about 400 yards away - too far for good picture taking.

    Here's that red fox again

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • David_S85David_S85 Spotter of Dgrin Spam and Oddities ChicagolandAdministrators Posts: 12,549 moderator

    ^ Cute little fellow, ain't he? I enjoyed all those images above and at you gallery.

    Stay safe, Jim. Keep shooting that wildlife, maybe from near rather than from afar, for now.

    My Smugmug
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,533 moderator
    edited April 25, 2020

    Thank you David. The foxes were cute and I probably have way too many images of them in my gallery, but they were just so charming to watch; tilt their head right and left, and then FLY like an eagle, and descend down into the snow like a tunnel rat.

    We're hiding away at home for now. We'll see what summer brings, maybe.

    Travel seems unlikely for the rest of the year at the very least. Sad to say.....

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • wtlwdwgnwtlwdwgn Major grins Registered Users Posts: 356 Major grins

    Cool series of the hunting fox and coyote. B) Winter is my favorite time in Yellowstone but I wasn't able to get there this year. :(

    Steve
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,533 moderator
    edited May 18, 2020

    We were very fortunate the red foxes and coyotes were very active.

    We did see several wolves, but from 500 yards or so, not really photographic events.

    One sequence of the bison migrating in the late afternoon sun against a very dark grey sky was pretty pleasing.

    And we saw lots and lots of otter this time, which I had not really experienced before - fun to listen to them bark to each other.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • StumblebumStumblebum I shoot, therefore I am San Jose, CARegistered Users Posts: 7,933 Major grins

    I love that last Buffalo shot! You got the best light! Oh the peak is wonderful too! Oh I wish I was there!

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,533 moderator
    edited June 22, 2020

    Thanks, Taz. That really was a special few time - didn't last but a few moments - I kept hoping they might turn their heads, or their direction, a bit more to their left, so the viewer could see them better, but was not able to capture that view I was hoping/trying to achieve. The light was sweet for sure.

    I was very fortunate, and I did not see what was coming a couple months later....

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • StumblebumStumblebum I shoot, therefore I am San Jose, CARegistered Users Posts: 7,933 Major grins

    Yeah, when light breaks through if only for moments, it is just epic! More I see it more I love it! Notice the sprinkle of bright lights where ever there is tiniest rise in the snow, heading in same direction as buffalo and leading you to the peak, which I know is NO accident!
    Just reliving/imagining/enjoying it!

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