Extreme Yellowstone…You Otter Be Here

Last year had one of the worst winter conditions in Yellowstone for the wildlife in memory. The snow depth and consistency was so extreme that over 600 bison left the park looking for food, bison and elk were having to deal with snow that was chest deep or higher in many places and even the smaller wildlife was driven from their normal areas in search of food. This did provide some great photo opportunities and some first time subjects in front of my lens.

This year is just the opposite with very little snow for mid-January. That’s nature for you. Each of the last eight years I have come to Yellowstone the conditions are different but, the photographic opportunities have always been excellent.

Our first day started off quite slow with very few wildlife sightings and grey skies but, we persevered and kept searching for subjects. As we cruised along the Yellowstone River heading towards Hayden Valley we were looking at a Hooded Merganser when Arden (our snowcoach guide extraordinaire) spotted three river otters on the bank just below us. Now these little guys are like greased lightning when it comes to speed so we had to be quick getting out of the snowcoach to make some images of them. Sure enough after just a few clicks they slid into the water and disappeared.

Not ready to give up yet, we waited and a few minutes later they were back on the ice posing nicely as the shutters were clicking away…


Nikon D3S, AF-S 500mm f4 VR, TC-20E III


Nikon D3S, AF-S 500mm f4 VR, TC-20E III


Nikon D3S, AF-S 500mm f4 VR, TC-20E III

We were fortunate to spend well over an hour with the river otters as they went about their daily business of fishing, cleaning and frolicking in and out of the water. I’d say we’re off to a great start. Stay tuned.