Kurt Johnson Interviewed on Wyoming Public Radio

One of Spring Creek Ranch’s own was featured on Wyoming Public Radio! SCR Naturalist Kurt Johnson spoke with WY Public Radio’s Willow Belden on the topic of his recently published field guide for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

Click here to listen to the interview. For more information on Johnson’s field guide, click here.

Wildlife Watching in Jackson Hole

Most people live their whole lives with squirrels and pigeons as their surrounding wildlife. A trip to a national park like Grand Teton or Yellowstone is an opportunity to see wildlife that thus far has only existed in your imagination or on your TV.

Visitors to Jackson Hole have the opportunity to see bear, moose, elk and much more. Watching a moose eat lunch or seeing a grizzly bear lead her cub down a path is truly thrilling. Unfortunately, many visitors to Jackson are unaware of the habits and schedules of the animals they most want to see and can spend days on a futile search for wildlife. Hiring a guide or taking a wildlife safari can greatly increase your chances of animal sightings but, if seeing a specific animal is important to you, it’s best to plan your trip during the time of year when the animal is most likely to be spotted. The three most sought after wildlife sightings are bears, moose and elk.

Bears

yellowstone-grizzly

Bears are the most sought after sighting in Jackson Hole and a special treat that not everyone is lucky enough to receive. The two main bears found in Jackson are black and grizzlies. Both types of bears are most likely to be seen in the spring, April through June, when the snow has started to melt at lower elevations. By the time summer rolls around the bears make their way back to higher elevations, which is now clear of snow. In the summer, July and August, they become a rarer sighting, but on high elevation hikes are still a common run-in. Black bears, unlike grizzlies, often return to lower elevations in the fall as they forage bushes for berries. There are a few celebrity bears in the park, notably #399 and her cubs, which stay in lower elevations and frequently can be found in the few miles surrounding Jackson Lake Lodge.


Moose

jackson wy moose

Moose seem to be every tourist’s second most desired animal sighting. Unfortunately, they are the hardest to find during Jackson’s main tourist season, from May to August. Moose love snow and colder climates, so during the winter, fall and spring, their dark bodies are often easily spotted loping through the white terrain. In the warmer months, you will most likely find them at higher, cooler elevations. As fall approaches, so does mating season, and your likelihood of finding moose out and about looking for a mate is at its height.


Elk

jackson hole elk

Elk are a yearlong attraction in Jackson. The winter months keep thousand of elk contained on the elk refuge where they are fed. You can take a sleigh ride out into the herd and get a close up view. Spring and fall are the migration time for elk and they can often be spotted along roads and trails as they make their way to and from the refuge. The summer is the most challenging time for spotting elk, but still not a rarity. You are most likely to find them on a hike in the woods where it is shady and cool. For a special thrill, elk enthusiast should visit in the fall. During mating season, the still dusk air is filled with the eerie and magical sounds of elk mating calls. Elk bugling back and forth across the valley is an experience that is not to be missed.


Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see some of nature’s most amazing animals. By timing your trip to Jackson Hole properly, you can greatly increase your chances of seeing the big, beautiful wildlife Jackson offers. While you’re at it you might just run into a bald eagle, bison or big horned sheep that also inhabit the area.

Click here to learn more about the Wildlife Safaris offered by Spring Creek Ranch

Spring Sightings Gallery

Gallery

This gallery contains 13 photos.

Spring is a wonderful time for watching wildlife. Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks are less busy, animals are moving around and coming out of hibernation, or returning from their “winter homes.” Check out the below gallery of some of … Continue reading

The Bizarre Sage Grouse in April

Sage Grouse - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY
This month is outstanding for wildlife watching in general, but one of the highlights is the unique courtship behavior by our local sage grouse. Males and females gather in specific areas called leks, and the males work very hard to impress the female grouse by prancing around, raising their sharp tail feathers, beating their wings and inflating their yellow air sacs on their neck.  Throughout this entire display they are vocalizing loudly with a voice that is unlike anything else in nature.  We have seen this behavior several times on recent safaris and this image was taken earlier this week. 

I’m also happy to report that the bald eagle nest on Spring Creek Ranch’s property remains active and the female was observed today laying low on her nest, likely incubating eggs.  This nest has had varying success in fledgling eaglets in recent years, so we remain hopeful that it will be successful this year.

Great Sightings of Great Grays

Great Gray Owl - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson, WY
The snowy weather throughout today seemed to contradict some of the Spring wildlife sightings that were taking place at the same time.

Mountain bluebirds have made their return along with red-winged blackbirds and the largest bull elk have dropped the antlers that they worked so hard to grow last year. Each Spring, we hope that our pair of bald eagles that nest on Spring Creek Ranch will return for another attempt at nesting, and yesterday I was happy to observe both adults perched on the nest. I’ll continue to watch this nest to monitor the pair’s progress. The largest (but, not heaviest) owl in North America is the great gray owl and we are fortunate to be one of the few regions that this owl calls home. We actually found two on today’s safari and I really liked how this one looked thanks to the surrounding snowfall. Moose were also on the move today and we ended up with a total ten moose sightings throughout the day.

Experience Spring Time in Jackson Hole

Experience Spring in Jackson Hole at Spring Creek Ranch

Fishing
Spring is a time of new beginnings and what could be better then a relaxing stay in Jackson Hole and Spring Creek Ranch? April starts off with a fly fishing extravaganza. Start your fishing season in style on the world famous Snake River. April is “Off the Charts” fly fishing with low clear water with hungry trout coming off the lethargy of winter. Cozy up to the fireplace in your deluxe hotel room, breakfast at the award winning Granary Restaurant, and a day of fly fishing.

May and June bring all kinds of new life to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park. Enjoy a guided Wildlife Safari to view the wildlife of the parks. The Calves, Cubs, & Kids Special is just the ticket to see where the animals are. 4 nights in a deluxe hotel room, breakfast at the award-winning Granary Restaurant and two different safaris plus much more!

Dawn or Dusk Safari
– Embark upon a first-class journey into Jackson Hole. This Wildlife Safari offers a personal and unforgettable wildlife experience rivaling a National Geographic special! Each tour is custom tailored to meet your specific interests, coupled with privately guided and chauffeured vans. Spring is an incredible time of year to see all of Jackson’s wildlife as many migratory animals move North through the valley.

Best of Yellowstone
– This extraordinary trip will focus on the dramatic qualities that influenced the decision to make Yellowstone the world’s first national park. These qualities include the park’s spectacular wildlife, the most famous geysers in the world and never-ending scenery. A Yellowstone trip will always vary to account for wildlife sightings and group interests, but stops typically include Old Faithful, the colorful waterfalls of Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and the wildlife of Hayden Valley. Lunch is included and is often taken near Old Faithful.

Maybe you’re interested in immersing yourself with nature? The Wolf and Bear Safari might be your choice.

Wolf and Bear Safari – Join an experienced guide in learning about and searching for the most famous predators in North America. The wolves of Yellowstone are notoriously visible if you know where to look and have been seen every day by visitors somewhere in the park since 2001. Spring is an ideal time to see wolves and bears since the park receives few visitors and the predators are actively hunting for newborn elk, moose, and bison. This Safari is not to be missed. Four days spent searching and viewing the bears, gray wolves and the natural splendor of Yellowstone National Park.

Check out more blog posts to see what others are seeing while on our Wildlife Safaris.

What ever your choice, take time to be in Jackson Hole this spring!

Our Predatory Songbird

Predatory Songbird - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY
Predators have always held a certain fascination with wildlife enthusiasts and while we are often fortunate to see predatory behavior in action on safaris, the robin-sized northern shrike is an unlikely killer compared to its larger cousins. During Winter months, we frequently observe the subtle yet deadly shrike perched upon wires or posts while seeking its next victim. Like birds of prey, such as hawks and eagles, shrikes have hooked bills to facilitate tearing of flesh. There are only two species of shrikes in North America and both are sometimes referred to as “butcherbirds” due to their carnivorous habits and tendency to impale prey upon thorny shrubs for later consumption.

Masked Mammal

Raccoon - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY
Raccoons are not extremely common here in Jackson Hole so I was surprised to see this handsome critter in my yard the other night. Most trash containers in this area are bear-proof, so it wasn’t able to cause any trouble for us. Winter has arrived in full force and wildlife watching has been great.

We are seeing elk, mule deer and moose on Spring Creek Ranch regularly and many other animals nearby on our safaris including bighorn sheep, coyotes and eagles.

Wildlife Safaris in Jackson Hole

An American Kestrel Spotted on A Spring Creek Wildlife Safari

An American Kestrel That Was Spotted on a Spring Creek Ranch Wildlife Safari


Looking out the window today the snow is falling and I found myself thinking of spring. One thought that stuck in my head was last April when I went with our Naturalist, Kurt Johnson on a Dawn Wildlife Safari. We went out past the National Elk Refuge, to Kelly and around the loop to the National Museum of Wildlife Art, then back to Spring Creek Ranch.

The wildlife were out in numbers and we photographed Bison, Elk, Moose, Mule Deer and Bighorn Sheep. The birds were also returning to Jackson Hole. We saw thirteen varieties of birds including: Trumpeter Swans, Red Tailed Hawks, Mallard Ducks, Bald Eagles, Canada Geese, and an American Kestrel.

My favorite bird was the little American Kestrel. Not much bigger than a Robin, this bird inhabits our valley between April and September. We saw it at the art museum perched on one of the rock ledges eating a mouse. These birds don’t usually eat anything bigger than a grasshopper, so this was a major score. We tried not to scare it away, so this picture was taken with a telephoto lens. What a magnificent little bird! These animals and birds are all out there just waiting to be seen and photographed.

Bedded Elk Near Spring Creek Ranch

Spring Creek’s Derek Goodson Spots Some Elk Near the Resort

Spring Creek Wildlife
Early afternoon, as I was winding down the road from Spring Creek Ranch, I spotted a bull elk bedded down in the trees.

While elk are plentiful in the Jackson Hole, finding them bedded in the trees is not that common mostly because they blend in so well. I wonder how many Spring Creek Ranch guests drove by without even noticing these guys about 100 yards from the road?

These are the same bulls that have been wintering at Spring Creek Ranch. We thought they had moved on as they were seen on the ranch lands below the resort yesterday, but today they are back.
Spring Creek Wildlife
Perhaps, the views attract them – from this vantage point, they have a beautiful view of the Teton Mountains. Or, perhaps, they like the attention of folks like me stopping to take pictures.

Regardless, we enjoy seeing them everyday.