Jackson Hole is famous across the planet as one of the best locations for wildlife and landscape photography. Our naturalist programs make the most of this by offering photo safaris twice per week throughout the year. This week, we explored Grand Teton National Park with cameras, tripods and lenses to find historic barns, abundant wildlife and expansive mountain views. Taking advantage of our Spring wildflowers, we took a 20-minute walk to find this meadow of daisys with the majestic Teton range providing the perfect photographic backdrop (seen in the image below).
One of the packages that we are currently promoting here at Spring Creek Ranch focuses on the fact that June and July is a wonderful time of year to see wild newborn animals. Appropriately, our safaris have had excellent sightings of these particularly cute critters during the past couple of weeks. Each of the images below were taken on recent wildlife safaris and include (from left to right) a grizzly bear cub up a tree, a bison calf, elk calf, coyote pups playing and a moose calf (with a very protective mom nearby.)
I am always thinking about the relationships between humans and wildlife, and ended up thinking about patriotism as a result of seeing these American kestrels on today’s safari. Most of us would associate the bald eagle with the U.S.A. since it is our national symbol and they do look really cool and majestic.
Nonetheless, the American Kestrel is not only the only bird-of-prey with the word ‘America’ in it but also actually displays all of our red, white and blue colors. These little falcons are quite small and easily mistaken for a robin or other medium-sized bird, but are as deadly as any other raptor. The male (on the left) is a bit more colorful, but the female also has charismatic markings.
One of the coolest wildlife behaviors to see during Winter months is a red fox stalking and diving after its prey and today we had the good fortune to witness (and photograph) this on our safari. The fox begins by walking carefully on the packed snow so as to not alert rodents underneath. Once it hears or smells activity underneath the snow, it tenses its entire body, leaps high into the air and lands, jaws first, into the snow. If it is lucky, it emerges from the snow with an unfortunate rodent within its teeth. This action-packed sequence was a lot of fun to photograph and fortunately this fox gave us a couple of opportunities for trial and error.
This garter was spotted this morning near Wilson, Wyoming and can be seen “smelling” the surroundings with its tongue. The forked tongue allows it to smell in stereo which is an asset when hunting prey.
A family of red foxes has denned just outside Grand Teton National Park and consists of two parents and five kits. The parents are working full time to feed their hungry offspring and this image shows how one of today’s hunting expeditions was very successful.
The young kits went crazy when this adult returned to the den with a mouthful of small mammals for dinner!
Ospreys are back in Jackson Hole and almost every osprey nest along the Snake River is occupied with a pair. The bald eagle nest on Spring Creek Ranch had a late start but our local eagles are on the nest and we’ll remain hopeful that they have a successful nest this year.
Other birds to have returned recently include sandhill cranes, several different species of waterfowl and loons.