We visited the NorthWest attending our oldest daughters college graduation. She walked with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art, Summa cum laude!
With all the getting ready before we left and cleaning up everything after we got back, it was ten days between my visits to the pika colony.
I was out with Melissa and her group of teachers from North Carolina. Since they wanted to explore the Beartooths, I combined checking on the pika with showing them some of my favorite locations.
It was late morning when we arrived at the Pass. Even so pika and marmonts were scurrying around. One pika in particular put on a good show appearing to nibble at lichen.
Over on East Summit we spotted several white dots far below. Mountain goats. A twenty minute hike got us close enough to hear them bleat.
I left the cabin at dawn. Just before Cooke Pass, a mule deer with twin fawns browsed in a patch of willows. Just past the Clarks Fork Bridge a cow moose watched me from across the river. I guessed she wasn't alone and a minute later her calf appeared from the brush to join her.
The West Summit was miserable. With gusting winds and temperatures in the low 20's, nothing was moving. Even the goats were tucked down in the ledges. I stayed for a while, but didn't even hear a pika.
On my way home I stopped to explore an aspen grove. I soon came up with 5 nests but only a hairy woodpecker cavity had proper light for photographing. As I stood waiting for the parent birds to return with ants, I watched a bluebird pair coming to a cavity just below me. Farther down a red naped sapsucker flew into another hole. Male wrens and green tree swallows brought food to sitting females.
I spent the morning searching near Upper Barronette for a boreal owl nest. I came across some nice nesting cavities but no owls. This was my only "hotspot" from calling owls last March, so I guess that's that.
Evening found me heading up to the pika colony at West Summit. The wind was still howling though it wasn't as cold as before. A pew pika were out, but my objective is to find babies. They wouldn't be out in these conditions.
Over all it was a slow week. It's supposed to warm up over the next few days. That should change my luck.