Yellowstone Reports

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One more try at an owl nest

A couple encounters
by Dan Hartman

June 5, 2018

     My annual searching for nesting birds is in full swing.  For the most part, songbirds are about two weeks behind schedule.  I wonder if there will be many 2nd nests this year.

     I had an interesting occurrance a couple of weeks ago.  I had parked and was about to hike up to a hanging aspen grove that lies just beyond a saddle in the slope.  I paused for a bit to check out a photo I had just taken when movement caught my eye.  Out of the saddle I was about to climb up to, charged a grizzly!  He was headed for where I stood so I jumped back into the car.  He soon spotted me and startd to circle wide.  I was about to step out of the car when the bear changed direction again and came directly towards me, so I stayed put.  The grizzly crossed the road and vanished into the forest.  I stepped out and listened as he huffed and snorted away downslope.  I was about to head up into the aspen grove when I heard the snorting growing louder again.  Soon he appeared 50 feet away passing by an open spot in the pines.

     What the grizz was running from or to I have no idea.  I'm just glad I wasn't in the saddle when he charged through.

     My good friends, Dave and Laura, hiked in with me a couple days later to check out an owl nest I hadn't been able to get to because of snow depth.  Since it was just a couple hundred yards from where I'd seen the bear, I welcomed the company.  Taking a round about route, we finally reached the distant nest.  I spotted a head, but was disappointed when it turnd out to be a hawk.

     We continued on, making a wide circle that would take us past my favorite owl nest. I had already checked it earlier, but the great gray owls could have arrived late and could still be there.  Along the way we crossed a raging creek then started out across a grassy flat that was littered with numerous gashes that were excavated by my grizzly friend.  Eventually we climbed the steep slope that led to my snag owl nest.

     It was empty.


     Somethiong moved inside.

     I lifted my binoculars.  A fox like face looked back at me.

     A pine marten!!

     It soon tired of looking at us and curled up to go back to sleep.

     Well, if I can't have an owl in the nest, a marten's the next best thing!


View slide show

Grizz Closing In

Running Grizz

Grizz Crossing The Road

Grizz Through The Pines

Pine Marten In Our Nest

Hairy Woodpecker


Tree Swallow At A Blue Bird Nest