Spring in Jackson Hole

These are exciting times indeed! There seems to be elk in every snowless area of Grand Teton Park right now. Imagine how wonderful that green, succulent, easily digested, vitamin and mineral-filled, lignin-less herbaceous vegetation must taste to the elk. While leading a Sunrise Expedition this morning, I spotted a lone cow elk, making me wonder if she is considering a spot to give birth. I also watched ten white-faced ibis feeding along the edge of Kelly Warm Springs. The days are still plenty cool to allow moose to browse bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) in the mid-day. Osprey parents are incubating eggs, periodically switching roles to allow the other in the partnership to stretch and go fishing. For about the past week, chorus frogs have been singing all day and into the night in the wetlands of southern Jackson Hole. I found the first two ticks of the year yesterday evening (one on me, one on my daughter Avery) after spending time exploring along the Gros Ventre River. I am impressed by ticks.Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale), a part of my family’s salads for the past two and a half weeks, are beginning to flower, along with two species of Biscuitroot (Lomatium spp.). The seldom-seen-unless-you-are-crawling-through-the-sagebrush Steershead (Dicentra uniflora) is flowering as far north as Moose, and Indian Potato (Orogenia linearifolia) is already producing fruits in the southern parts of the valley. Yellow Bells (Fritillaria pudica), Sagebrush Buttercups (Ranunculus jovis) and Buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis) are flowering as well. This is the time of year that I never want to leave the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for fear of missing something.

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