Romances with wolves

We had a great trip to Yellowstone for Valentine's Day week. That time of the year is also breeding season for wolves, so there was a lot of soap-opera-like drama, with clashes between packs, romances, and many dalliances, known techincally as "ties".

This year was different with the Park having much less snow than last year, and even less in February than we saw when we were there at Thanksgiving. The Mollie pack, normally in the Pelican Bay area of Yellowstone Lake, took the low snow opportunity to see what it was like in the Northeast part of the Park, giving the Blacktails and Lamars another thing(s) to think about. There were some interpack clashes, but only minor injuries, no deaths. We didn't get to see the Mollies while we were there, but they had make a bison kill on Jasper Bench in the Lamar, and then a couple of days later formed their line of 19 and went up and over Specimen Ridge, and back to Hayden Valley and the Lake.

On our last day in the Park, we got several hours of good viewing of the Lamar pack, who started high on Norris, eventually making their way to the Soda Butte/Lamar confluence, and then across the road to the Ledge trail. The alpha pair stopped coming down Norris for a "tie", and the yearlings and pups got on with running and playing.

Try as we might, we were also unable to see the three otters that had been cavorting and posing next to the road at the confluence of Soda Butte creek and the Lamar river. Sometimes you're just not at the right place at the right time.

Hopefully we can go back in May to see the wolf pups and the rest of the new babies. The bison will be having their bright orange colored calves in March and April.