Yellowstone Reports

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Wildlife is where you find it

Unusual place to find wildlife
by Dan Hartman

June 1, 2018

     Last week, Cindy and I had to make a quick trip back to our home state of Indiana.  We drove the 1,600 miles there in two days, then had an extra 1/2 day for the return trip.

     We found the usual pronghorn, pheasants, hawks, songbirds etc, along the way.  However, as we were approaching Buffalo on I-90, a ten mile stretch (#73-#63) changed all that.

     First a golden eagle nest with two white chicks.  It was in a dead tree at the bottom of a ravine.  If one had time, they could actually look into the nest from a close hillside.

     Just down the freeway Cindy spotted three fox kits playing at their den entrance.

     A bit farther and a short-eared owl flew across the highway to land on a fence post.  By the time I could pull over, it had already taken off to fly moth-like just above the sage flat.

     At #63.5 near a work zone, I spotted a badger.  Luckily there was a large gravel pull-off that got us safely off the freeway.  Right away I realized she was at her den, so we waited a bit.  Sure enough two youngsters soon appeared. They played and explored while their mother glared at us.  Eventually realizing we werent a threat, she flattened out to sleep at the dens edge.

     It's always tough when you find a situation so far from home.  I would have loved to photograph the eagle nest, also spend time with the foxes.  I did photograph and film the badger family.

     But, the one that really frustrates me is the short-eared owls.  I haven't worked on one in over thirty years.  It would have been fun to seek out the nest.


View slide show

Badger Den

Fox Den

Badger Den

Golden Eagle Nest