A grizzly enjoying wildflowers

Grizzly in a field of flowers – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Just a mamma grizzly enjoying some sun and a meadow of wildflowers. Don’t you just want to give her a huge, furry cuddle? Well, maybe not so much.

Mama bear is always watching

Mama bear is always watching – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This glorious black bear mama is keeping a watchful eye on her two bouncing cubs not too far away (click here to see baby bear post). Her fur is so shiny and in perfect condition. It was such an experience to sit and watch her graze while her two babies bounced over logs and tried to climb tree trunks and clumsily fell and rolled around in the grass. She wasn’t at all concerned by our presence (don’t worry I was much further away than this picture looks!), but every now and again the babies would stop and stare at me to see if I was still there watching before going back to their rough and tumble play. How blessed they are to call Yellowstone their home.

Spring brings baby bears

Spring brings baby bears – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This fuzzy little bear cub is the very essence of what makes Spring the best season of the year. Animal babies! This bouncy ball of fluff is one of two baby cubs to a mamma black bear (click here for her post) in Yellowstone National Park. She is much darker than her chocolate brown babies, but actually the name ‘black bear’ is actually quite misleading as they can come in many different colors such as brown, cinnamon, blond, grey and even white! Don’t you just want to give this cutie a cuddle? Most definitely not because mum is not too far away with an ever watchful eye on her two little bubs.

Click here for more Yellowstone posts.

Whistle pig in a meadow

Whistle pig in a meadow – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Any creature in a meadow of bright yellow flowers is adorable, but these cute and furry ground squirrels are also very entertaining. You may also know them as marmots, groundhogs, woodchucks or whistle pigs. The last name describes the shrill call they make to alert the colony of trespassers nearby (such as us humans). Which also means that as you walk through whistle pig territory (Yellowstone National Park), you have high-pitched music following you around everywhere you go.

Yellowstone Moose

Yellowstone moose – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This male moose was just one of several moose we saw while traveling through Yellowstone National Park. We actually saw this particular moose on two occasions as he obviously likes to graze in the same area, and was accompanied by his girlfriend who was grazing nearby (I had to crop her rump out of my photo). Having visited in the Spring we were also lucky enough to catch a mother and her moose calf playing by a river. Knowing nothing about moose, I was surprised to learn that they grow new antlers every year, so that in Spring they don’t look like the typical male moose pictures you often see with giant antlers. Also, they are often found alongside rivers, lakes and marshy meadows because they like to feed on many aquatic plants as well, and have learned to be excellent swimmers and even dive for their underwater food! So when out looking for moose to photograph, check the nearby rivers and lakes…. who knew?!

An elk is not a reindeer

An elk is not a reindeer – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This is a sleek and athletic looking young male elk. He calls Yellowstone National Park his home, and was munching on dinner in this lush grassy area. This is probably the closest chance I will have to see a reindeer-like animal. Elk and reindeer are very similar in size, however elk fur is very sleek and shiny, mostly dark with a white bum, and with shaggy fur around their necks. This is clearly a male with his small antlers, that will grow much, much larger once he’s older. They are newly grown and still covered in a velvet-like skin which will dry and fall off in Autumn. Each year after mating season, the antlers will also fall off and grow again for the next mating season. With reindeer, the presence of antlers cannot be used to distinguish between them, as both males and females have antlers.

For other posts from Yellowstone National Park click here.

Beauty in death

Beauty in Death – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Yellowstone National Park is full of breathtaking scenery. You can drive from wildflower covered hills and grass covered valleys, to snow-scattered mountains such as the ones in this photo. I had to be prepared for significant changes in temperature along this trip, ready for just about anything. I often find myself pointing my camera at a dead tree as the focal point of my photo. There is something hauntingly beautiful about a naked tree, the branches reaching out and forming interesting shapes. No longer a living part of this world but a significant aspect of the current landscape in which it once lived.

Two Glorious Geese

Two glorious geese – Photograph by Laura Lecce

I did not see these Canadian geese in Canada but in Yellowstone National Park. It seems the name is misleading as I have seen a lot of these geese in the US! They even nest in Central Park in Manhattan, and in the Spring you will see chicken-sized, fluffy babies following their parents around. These two posed so perfectly that they deserved to have their photo taken.

For other posts from Yellowstone National Park, please click here. This post is dedicated to my Canadian friends.

A grizzly and her cubs in a field of flowers

A grizzly and her cubs in a field of flowers – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Life doesn’t get much better than this. Watching a mamma grizzly make her way slowly through a field of yellow wildflowers while her two cubs run around her. This picture was taken in Spring in Teton National Park. There were quite a few female grizzlies each with two beautiful and bouncy cubs. Predictably they took the same route every day, so on each day you could catch a glimpse of them making their way through this field. I learned that a grizzly can be distinguished from other bears because of the hump on it’s back above the shoulders. They are so much bigger than I imagined, and every time I saw a bear on this trip I would forget to breathe. You really feel like you are in the presence of a magnificent and truly special animal. What a truly wonderful experience.