There's nothing better than finding something new at a familiar destination, in this case moose at Yellowstone National Park. The only moose we've seen recently was one running through our neighborhood last winter, but we've never seen one in Yellowstone. On our drive from Gardiner to Cooke City Thursday, we saw one before the Tower/Roosevelt intersection. She (I'm guessing) was buried deep in the brush and I got just a couple of good shots. Then we were surprised to see one in Lamar Valley near where we usually see bighorns. As I was snapping away at him (I'm guessing), another one bounded out of the woods a few yards away. I only got one good shot of him. When we got back to the hotel, I was surprised to see the head of yet another moose in the background of that last shot. So I'm claiming four moose on the day.
Something else we've seen in abundance elsewhere but not at Yellowstone is pronghorn. There was a small herd hanging around the Gardiner entrance the three days we were there. We also saw the usual bighorns, bison, elk and mule deer, although the most elk we saw was outside the park on Friday as we were driving north from Gardiner back toward Livingston. There were hundreds. The elk and moose had all shed their antlers so they weren't quite as impressive as when they have them, but of course the bighorns and bison always have their horns. During our snow coach tour and drive, we also checked off a bald eagle, a golden eagle, and some tagged ravens hanging around the Tower/Roosevelt rest stop. No coyotes or other four-footed predators this time, unlike previous years.
We did the snow coach tour to the waterfalls on Wednesday and the drive on Thursday. I'm not a big fan of crowded bus tours, but snow coach or snowmobile are the only ways to get to most of the park during winter. Yellowstone in the summer is crowded, so winter is a wonderful alternative. It seemed like the guided tour vans were back in abundance after last winter's low traffic during the pandemic. There wasn't as much snow as the other times we've been to Yellowstone in winter. We did the Old Faithful tour last year and the Waterfall tour in 2019, both from West Yellowstone. Doing the tour from Gardiner this time allowed us to do the Lamar Valley drive on the same trip, unlike 2021 and 2019 when they were separate trips. Click on one of the images to start a 42-image slide show.
Bison in the snow
Lamar Valley Bighorn