March began sunny and blue and the familiar song of the Cassin’s Finch filled the air once again. The start of Spring brought bears out of hibernation and the return of many birds to nest and breed: Red-Winged Blackbirds, Red Tail Hawks, Great Blue Herons, Robins, Cassin’s Finch and Juncos, just to name a few. I spotted a neighborhood pair of ravens cleaning house and tidying their nest and some green shoots emerging in the sunny, southern spots. Learn how to identify the Cassin’s Finch at Audubon.org »
As the month ended, a strange feeling settled over the valley with the early closure of the ski resorts, the cancellation of spring events, and the closure of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Town is quiet. COVID-19 has changed life as we know it.
Jackson Hole is a small valley with limited resources. The closure of the ski resorts and national parks has stopped the influx of visitors. Decisions are being made to protect our healthcare system. On March 28, our town councilors voted unanimously to approve a stay-at-home ordinance. Learn more »
A collared female Mule Deer has made yet another record migration of over 200 miles between summer and winter territories. In 2018, she traveled from the Red Desert in Wyoming to Island Park, Idaho. The urge to migrate is passed down through the generations. She has learned the migration route from her mother or another dominant female. Now, at 6.5 years old, she teaches the route to her fawns. She is currently healthy, pregnant, and on her way north now. Discover more about her journey »
The awakened mind, however, isn’t necessarily a mind that’s always happy, peaceful and compassionate. Instead it’s awake to the way things are. The awakened mind has faith in the fact that full awareness of this condition or of that mental state does liberate the mind. This kind of awareness involves bringing a mind state into full consciousness and simply observing it — as opposed to running with it, ignoring it, getting in there and re-organizing or fixing it, or trying to get rid of it.”“The Contemplative’s Craft” by Ajahn Viradhammo
What’s in the Woods
3/3 Jackson: eastern blue jay at feeder
3/4 Jackson: mule deer near post office
3/5 Jackson: ravens nest building, stellar jay at bird feeder, chickadees, blue sky day
3/7 First bear sighting in Yellowstone
3/10 Gros Ventre River: four moose
3/11 immature eagle flying over Snake River, bluebird day
3/12 deer grazing in yard in town at dawn, stellar jay at bird feeder
3/15 family emergency, headed to Ohio
3/24 Grand Teton and Yellowstone Parks close due to COVID-19
3/28 Jackson: stay-at-home ordinance
With the closure of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, it’s the time to explore our National Forest lands. Please respect all winter closure areas that remain in effect until May 1.
Shadow Mountain is a great place to explore. The trailhead is north of Kelly, at the northern end of the Gros Ventre Road. I have heard reports of both bear and wolf tracks. There is still lots of snow, so best to go when the snow is firm — what we call “crust cruising.” Do practice physical distancing and respect for the land. I know the district ranger in Jackson wants to keep Forest land open but the decision will be impacted by our behavior. Bears are active so carry your bear spray. Be safe. Be well. We are all in this together.