Owl Vs. Weasel

Great-Horned Owl - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY
Another great Winter wildlife safari today! Highlights included coyotes scavenging, moose browsing, sage grouse flocking and a porcupine roosting. This great-horned owl was serenely perched in a cottonwoood tree turning its head back and forth while studying us. Eventually, we noticed the most remarkable part of this sighting which was a long-tailed weasel clutched in its talons.

Normally its white Winter coat serves as camouflage to prevent such incidents. If you look closely at this image, you can see its leg and tail underneath the owl.

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!

Big Bad Wolf

Big, Bad Wolf - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY
The last few safaris have been absolutely phenomenal with excellent sightings and interesting behaviors observed. This black wolf was seen in Grand Teton National Park along with a gray-colored wolf nearby and was one of many great animals seen.

Other sightings included moose browsing on cottonwood trees, a young golden eagle attacking bighorn sheep, mountain goats navigating steep cliffs, and a porcupine perched in a tree.

Tree Weasel

Tree Weasel - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY
I was able to spend the last day of 2010 doing one of my favorite things…photographing a beautiful and relatively uncommon critter.

Pine martens are one of the only local weasels that regularly spend time in trees (often pursuing red squirrels) and this individual put on a phenomenal show! We commonly encounter their unique track pattern in the snow but only see the animal itself a handful of times each year. Thanks to Lance, Sophie and Steve for the heads-up on this great sighting!

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.

Steller Feathers

Steller's Jay - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY
The vast majority of breeding birds have left Jackson Hole in search of warmer climates, but several birds including this Steller’s Jay will remain throughout the Winter. This image taken this morning shows the vibrant blue coloration of this jay’s wing and tail feathers and (simply by good luck) has a six-sided snow crystal which recently landed on this bird.

This lightweight brand of snowflake has landed in abundance during the past week, accumulating to over three feet of snow in the mountains and allowing Jackson Hole Mountain Resort to open all of its ski lifts this weekend.

The Jackson Hole Pronghorn Migration

Jackson Hole Pronghorn - Spring Creek Ranch
One of the most unique animals within this ecosystem is the pronghorn (frequently called antelope) so it is appropriate that these animals engage in one of the most unique migrations in the entire continent. Jackson Hole’s population of pronghorn leave our valley each Fall moving south in the general direction of Pinedale, WY.

Their migration corridor is very narrow as it is constrained by their habitat preferences, highways, residential development and oil & gas development. As a result, we were able to watch hundreds of these speedy animals migrate during an outing yesterday to observe this phenomena. It was an amazing event to witness. The pronghorn doe in this image was one of about 140 which sprinted across a small county road bisecting their migration corridor. She was running at about 30 MPH so to capture her motion in this photograph, the shutter speed was set slow (1/50 sec) while the lens followed her from right to left.

Wolves and Bears of Yellowstone

Yellowstone Wolves & Bears - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY
This month’s multi-day safaris have been excellent in terms of cooperative weather and cooperative wildlife. Our primary objective on these safaris is to see predators and we were able to watch several species of predators on each of these including gray wolves, grizzly bears, eagles, coyotes, weasels and black bears.

During one evening, we witnessed a pack of gray wolves and a grizzly bear chasing one another as they all worked to establish dominance over the remnants of a kill. This sow grizzly bear and two cubs were seen in Hayden Valley and eventually swam across the Yellowstone River.

Swainson’s Hawk

Swainson's Hawk - Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole, WY
Along with large mammals, birds of prey seem to be a group of animals that most wildlife enthusiasts are strongly interested in. During Summer months, we often see five to six different species of raptors (birds of prey) and occasionally more on each safari.

This Swainson’s Hawk allowed our safari vehicle to approach very closely today so we all took advantage of its cooperative nature by studying its details closely with binoculars and taking some close-up photographs.