Bears are spread across the high country. Moose have taken up residency near shady water. Baby birds are fledging left and right. The bright yellows and greens of spring wildflowers have been replaced by the purples and blues of lupines and geraniums. Pronghorn are staking out territories, and bull bison are beginning to spar for access to females. Its eighty degrees in the afternoon, and clouds of pollen are wafting off the grasses that are already losing their rich green color. Everyone is sneezing, and everyone else is gawking at the roadside elk.
Two months into the Yellowstone Phenology Project, and I have been amazed by how dynamic this world is. Every day something wraps up until the next year. Every day something happens for the first time in 12 months. If last month was the month of awakening, this is the month of color. Here's a recap of where we've been and what we've seen in the last 30 days, and here is a recap of the first month!
Thank you all for following this project. It's been a blast, and I'll keep it going as long as I can!
Phenology: the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena,
especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life.
I'm going to try something here. I want to post a photo or video every day through the spring, summer, and fall. Frank C. Craighead Jr's book "A Naturalist Guide to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks" is an amazing resource that walks us chronologically through the seasons, pointing out what animals are present in the valley, what they are eating, what plants are flowering, and how all of the cogs in the ecosystem clock are turning each week. I thought it would be fun to capture, photographically, this annual march through time. Change is the only constant around here. Like Ferris Bueller famously said, "life moves pretty fast. If you don't look up once in a while, you might miss it." Six months from now, I hope to be able to use this little project like a flipbook to watch the seasons unfold and meld chronologically. Here we go,we'll start with a bang.
|This young male grizzly has recently emerged from his first solo hibernation without mom (the famous Grizzly 610). He walks the shore, looking for dead cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish that have been frozen, preserved, in ice all winter long.|
and a bonus video to kick things off!