Come prepared

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 20:35:43 07/28/17

In Reply to: September posted by Charles


I've seen hot weather during the first week of September a few times. I've also seen an early season snowstorm during that same timeframe. Typically, by the beginning of September, the shortened photoperiod, combined with the sun being a bit lower in the sky, results in cooler temperatures than we see in June, July, and August. The mornings get decidedly cool, and a perceptible chill typically arrives around sunset. If the Arizona Monsoon runs a bit late, you could see a fair amount of moisture, but that would be outside the norm.

A few critters, like the ground squirrels, will already be hibernating underground that first week of September. Osprey will be about to head south, if they have not already. Deer and pronghorn will start slowly moving west on the Northern Range, beginning their fall migration. The elk rut will be in its early stages. You might hear a bit of bugling if you are lucky. Wolves will be gravitating toward abandoning their rendezvous sites, but many packs will probably still be using them. Once the pups are able to keep up with the adults, they will leave the rendezvous sites. Grizzlies will be moving back into the high country in search of whitebark pine nuts. Some black bears will be up high as well. Dunraven Pass can be a good place to look for bears, particularly the hillside just south of the Mt. Washburn trailhead. Bear behavior varies, depending on the whitebark pine nut crop. We only see a good crop once or twice in a typical five year period. The bison rut will be winding down, so some bison that had migrated to Hayden Valley or Lamar Valley will start the trek home to their normal territory. That can result in occasional delays on the road. The Mud Volcano and Pelican Valley bison herds are infamous for tying up traffic for hours with their antics as they head south.

Networking becomes crucial at this time of year. Sometimes, a bison carcass will show up somewhere in Hayden Valley or Lamar Valley. Oftentimes, it's a result of a collision with a vehicle, but sometimes it results from combat with another bull during the rut. A large bison carcass can bring multiple bears, along with coyotes, eagles, fox, magpies, ravens, and wolves out to where they are quite visible. You want to be checking with the visitor center information desk, as well as fellow wildlife watchers on the roadside and the people serving you dinner to find out where the action is.

Here's wishing you great weather and an excellent trip.


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