Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Signs of Spring!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009
The spring weather is back…that unpredictable windy rain, which can quickly turn to sleet or snow. The wind howled last night and all day today. We were even lucky to have sleet on and off! The good thing is, it’s still warm enough to melt the remaining snow. At the St. Mary Visitor Center we had about 5 feet of snow/ice that filled the breezeway…keeping any visitor from the restrooms. Today, I’m happy to announce that they dug out the restrooms. Now we are on our way to having flush toilets again!!! I know it’s exciting! We’ve been working there for weeks without running water or restrooms, so it is a big relief. We had to drive a mile down the road to use the restrooms each day…it was a big pain! We also got a few computers set up in our offices. These are some of the first signs of spring: having water turned on, getting computers hooked up, driving through sleet—Ah, the new season is here!

Some other signs of spring are my wildlife sightings. I forgot to mention some wildlife sightings from the weekend. It was simply breathtaking during my journey up the Going-to-the-Sun road. It was even better soaking up the sun. Best of all, it was amazing to watch, not one, but two herds of elk graze. Before my trip up the road I passed by the meadows in front of the St. Mary Visitor Center. I’ve been watching a small herd of 25 elk graze and hang out there everyday now for over a week. Each time I drive passed they are grazing in the brisk weather. Yesterday I got some photos.

The elk herd at St. Mary Flats with the St. Mary Lake in the background.

As I drove back from my trip up the GTTS Rd. I saw a large flock of mountain blue birds. I wasn’t fast enough to get any photos, but it was breathtaking. The flock flew in front of my car and then fluttered around to show their bright blue-ness! Amazing!

I also saw the other herd of elk near the Two Dog Flats meadow area. I counted about 40! I watched them for a half hour and took a gazillion photos. It was really neat to sit in my car while watching this entirely wild animal graze or lay in the meadow, just living their life. I felt very far removed from civilization. I almost felt like I was watching this animal for the first time ever. I watched them lay there. I watched them graze. And I watched them slowly move their herd through the prairie. I even saw 2 males with antlers about 2 feet long….a definite sign of spring.

The few elk that were laying down chewing their cud.

Very photogenic elk.

The entire herd at one of the prairies near Two Dog Flats.

A close up of the elk.

The Osprey family is back at the St. Mary Visitor Center too!

One of the osprey, literally holding down the fort! It's windy!

The last sign of spring was a bit startling. I was on the phone with my boyfriend when all of the sudden I saw a black nose, neck, and fuzzy back move by my back window. IT WAS A BEAR!!! I was only about 2 feet from it, with my window to protect me. It didn’t notice me and kept walking by. It walked around my apartment to the front porch where it sniffed my kayak. At that point I was off the phone and ready with my camera. I got a shot of it’s butt leaving the frame, but I will always keep the memory of it’s nose sniffing the end of my kayak!! Then it walked through the snow and left these tracks.

Bear Tracks, I wonder what kind of ice cream that would be?

Checkin' out the trailers, Mr. (or Mrs.) Bear.

Mr. Bear through the bushes. He knows he shouldn't be in the housing area!

Eventually, he moseyed around the trailers that are just down the road from me. I got some great shots! Hope you enjoy the Spring Signs!

Weather: WINDY! There must be 30mph winds or something! It’s the kind of wind that you wonder if your front door will blow open! Temps in the 40’s

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