Today we took a Wildlife Expedition with theTeton Science School. Our guide, Tyler, picked us up at our hotel right at 6:30am. He had coffee and mini blueberry muffins for us for breakfast. We started out on the backside of the National Elk Refuge looking for big horn sheep. After watching a pack of coyotes hunt ground squirrels, we drove behind a butte and saw the sheep on top. They were grazing on top of the butte and a few males were head butting, but not seriously. The serious head butting is done in the fall during mating season. We watched the sheep for half an hour and then moved on.
Our guide drove around to the main part of the National Elk Refuge where there is a fish hatchery. There our guide could look through a high-powered telescope and see a few bison grazing on the refuge pasture. We heard a splash in the pond where we were standing and saw a muskrat swimming below the water. On the far side of the pond were a couple of Golden Eye ducks.
Next we drove toward Kelly, WY and Slide Lake. Driving on the road towards the lake we stopped to watch two bald eagle fish. It was a majestic sight.
We left the eagles and drove toward Mormon Row. Along the way our guide spotted a moose in the sage brush. We stopped and got out of the van. Once you know what to look for, their hairy ears, you can spot the moose bedded down on the ground. We counted eleven moose at this one sighting.
We continued driving north until we reached Oxbow Bend where we stopped at the partially frozen lake. On the far side of the lake we could see, through the high-powered telescope, a dozen bald eagles perched on the ice and nearby trees. Closer to us, two big muskrats were sitting on the ice. At first, we thought they were beavers, but then we could clearly see that they had a long rat like tail, not a beaver tail.
We drove a little farther north to the completely frozen Lake Jackson. We hoped to see a bear. We did see bear tracks in the snow, but no bears.
Lake Jackson was the northern most part of our expedition. We stopped for a few minutes at the Lake Jackson dam. It was interesting to see the water flow under the ice and come out the other side of the dam. From here we turned south and heading home. Along the way we continued to look for Bison and Bears, but didn’t see any. We arrived back at the hotel around 2:30. It was a nice day and a great expedition.