Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Photo

Friday Photo

A single photo, every Friday. No words required.

Photo courtesy of Ralph Haberfeld

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Yellowstone and the Tetons: Citizen Science

Citizen Science

When you've got a family full of nature enthusiasts, some of their friends are likely to be biologists and some of the friendly biologists invited us to participate in some "citizen science" and a bit of bird banding. Bird banding means catching wild birds in nets, taking some scientific data like how much they weigh and how old they are, then attaching a little identification bracelet around one of their legs. Every time an ID'd bird is caught in the net, scientists gather more detailed information about how those birds live.

Citizen Science: checking the neighborhood bird boxes

Grandma records the data about who's nesting where and when.

Watch out for equine photo bombers!

Mama swallow emerges from the nest box.

With the biologists: First, set up a really big net.

The scientists catch the birds and get the data.

Then, gently set the birds free.

Of course, there are some birds that should only be handled by professionals! Below, our biologist friend shows Hazel a baby Great Grey owl (and vice versa). Hazel has loved Great Greys ever since one appeared out of the mist on Hazel's birthday and proceeded to hunt pocket gophers all morning as we watched through the windows. 

Hazel has a special moment with "the birthday owl."

You knew I couldn't resist a "bird in the hand" joke, right? 
Well, a bird in the hand is very, very soft and warm and fluffy but you have to feel it fast because ... 
in a twinkling a bird in the hand is a bird in the bush.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Yellowstone and the Tetons: Wildlife

We looked for wildlife.

Grandpa sets up the spotting scope to view his favorite Harlequin Ducks
at LeHardy Rapids on the Yellowstone River.

We found lots of wildlife. Some of the best, of course, is not pictured here. The grizzly bear attacking the elk calves was too far away to be photographed. The mama moose and her baby escaped the paparazzi only because I was driving the car and couldn't drive and shoot moose at the same time. Likewise the bison herd that swam across the river right before our eyes. And the black bear by the side of the road. Ditto the sandhill cranes and their adorable baby colts. I didn't get a picture of the long-tailed weasel because I was too excited and didn't think of it until it was too late. I didn't get a picture of the marmot that ran right up to Grandpa at the base of Natural Bridge because I was carrying Rain. There aren't any photos of the numerous beavers and gigantic bull moose with antlers in velvet and bald eagles on their huge nests because I didn't bring my camera on the boat that floated us down the Snake River. I'm clearly no wildlife photographer. Here are the wildlife I did get on pixels:

Can you see those tiny white dots on the lake?
Trumpeter Swans

Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout

One of the bugs that flew down Rain's shirt and made him squeal like a piggy.

A levitating caterpillar, balancing on its silk thread over the trail

 Just as you can't see Yellowstone (a National Park the size of Switzerland) in one day,
More to follow....

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Yellowstone and the Tetons: Water Features

Water Features: Geysers and Waterfalls

Of course Yellowstone is known for its wonderful thermal features and waterfalls.

West Thumb geyser basin

Obligatory tourist shot at Artist Point

But the very best thing about taking kids to see some of the most wonderful places in nature is the ability to experience with them the awe of seeing old favorites for the first time.

Hazel waits to photograph the eruption of Old Faithful geyser
from the deck of the historic Old Faithful Inn.

Rain experiences the eruption of Old Faithful for the first time.

After hiking around the enormous geyser basin at Old Faithful, we found a quiet spot to watch a second eruption of the famous geyser, which typically erupts every 90 minutes or so. It doesn't look like much in the picture (below), but this little off-shoot of the trail was the perfect place to really enjoy the view without the crowds. Snacks are a nice touch.

Just as you can't see Yellowstone (a National Park the size of Switzerland) in one day,
More to follow....

Monday, July 20, 2015

Yellowstone and the Tetons: Hiking

Right after camp(s), we went up to Grandma and Grandpa's to pick up Hazel and spend a few days as a family in the Yellowstone and Grand Teton area. We love playing together in our National Parks.


We hiked. We chose trails that were Rain-friendly-- mostly bicycle paths, boardwalks, and some trails that we knew would be wide enough for him to ride in his WIKE or his wheelchair. There were places where we had to portage Rain and his machine (that is, take Rain out of his machine and carry him to a safe place before returning to carry the machine over the problem area). Sometimes the jostling gets to be a bit much and Rain prefers to walk for a little while. Sometimes Rain needs to be carried by a parent. But we get out there and we do it anyway. It's a small thing that means a lot.

Bicycle trails can be a great accessible hiking option.

Hmm. Some of us enjoy hiking more than others.

We dipped our toes in mountain lakes.

Photo courtesy of Louise Haberfeld

The black sand beaches of Lake Yellowstone show its volcanic history.

 Just as you can't see Yellowstone (a National Park the size of Switzerland) in one day,
More to follow....

Friday, July 17, 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015

Parents Camp

And while the kids are away, the parents get to play at their own camp. We had a wonderful time hiking, camping, lounging, and getting to know each other again.

There's nothing like waking up to this:

Then doing a bit of this:

And seeing things like this:

There's something about being alone in the wilderness with just one other person ... the right person ... to make me feel like I'm on the right path in life with just the right partner. I still love that man I married almost 15 years ago. It's good to be reminded from time to time.