Trip Journal & Blog

Eco Tour Adventures Connects Visitors to R Park

August 24th, 2015

Since June Eco Tour Adventures Owner and Lead Guide Taylor Phillips has led visitors on interpretive tours bringing R Park’s environment alive through observation and natural history interpretation.

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Rendezvous Park’s 40-acres of mixed vegetative cover ranges from wetlands to shrubs, cottonwoods and grasslands, providing habitat to an array of flora and fauna.

 

By reclaiming the former gravel pit and opening it to the public, the Jackson Hole Community and its visitors will be able to appreciate it’s natural features in perpetuity.

Eco Tour Adventures was created with the idea of helping people connect with the natural world through wildlife observation and natural history interpretation. We believe that when one is more familiar with the intricate workings of the ecosystem, he or she has a deeper appreciation and connection with their environment. With this stronger bond we believe folks will make more environmentally sound choices in their day to day lives.

 

Join Eco Tour Adventures on September 11th as Taylor tells stories of R Park’s many animal visitors

What an Honor!

July 1st, 2015

What an Honor! Eco Tour Adventures was recently inducted into TripAdvisor’s Hall of Fame. We have received the “Certificate of Excellence” from 2011 to 2015. This is a proud accomplishment for Eco Tours and we could not have done it without our amazing guides Josh, Laura, Siva, Pete, Taylor, Noelle, Lindsay and Patrick. By sharing their knowledge and passion of the Greater Yellowstone Eco System our guides will connect you to this wonderful area we are privileged to call home.

TA Hall of Fame

We know that our guests are in the area for a short amount of time so we want to be sure that we provide only the best experience. Eco Tours strives to provide all of our guests with 5 star service by making sure every detail is covered. We travel in customized safari style vehicles that have been equipped with roof hatches and sliding windows for ethical and excellent viewing opportunities. We also use the best local and organic food, high quality optics, and of course the best guides in the valley to take you straight to the wildlife hotspots.

 

Thank you to all of our guests for sharing their experiences on TripAdvisor and making this accomplishment possible. Join us for a wildlife safari in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park today!

Spring In Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park

April 19th, 2015

Wildlife Viewing at its best!

Spring has sprung in the Tetons!   Spring is a wonderful time to explore the parks and Jackson Hole.  The wildlife is very active and the crowds are thin.   As the snow recedes up the mountain slopes much of the wildlife takes advantage of the new grasses and vegetation available.   Bears are emerging from hibernation and we are starting to see the first flowers in bloom.

Grand Teton From Moran

Generally male bears (called boars) are the first ones out of hibernation.  This past Friday, on a scouting mission, I snapped this photo of a large boar.  Females with new cubs can emerge from hibernation as late as June.

Boar Grizzly, Grand Teton 4-15 Full Size2Elk have been making their way north off of the National Elk Refuge.  Most of the bulls have dropped their antlers at this point.  It’s not uncommon to see younger bulls with antlers still attached this time of the year.  Below, enjoy this picture of a young bull (approaching his 2nd birthday) after dropping one of his antlers.Elk With one Antler in Grand Teton

Winter In the Tetons: Moose and Adaptations

March 1st, 2015

Moose Teton Wildlife Tour Jackson HoleEcoTour Adventures offers great things to do during the winter in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park. Consider a wildlife tour to maximize your time in Jackson.

Burr! It’s cold outside! Winter in Jackson is clearly the longest season of the year. We received our first snow in November, and if years past are any indication we can get snow in the valley through May. This is ideal if you have migrated to Jackson to SKI! Since fall we have received over 290 inches and currently have a snow pack of 88 inches! The wildlife in the valley has a different perspective on winter. Many species are simply enduring our frequent snowstorms, a deep snowpack, wind, and bitter temperatures.

On our wildlife tours, we like to say that animals in Jackson get MAD! They Migrate, Adapt, or Die.  Let’s briefly talk about Adapting.

There are two main ways that animals Adapt to the winter! There are physical and behavioral adaptations. Let’s pick moose and go through some of their physical and behavioral adaptations.

 

Physical Adaptations: If you have ever held a long moose guard hair in your had and tried to bend it you see that it creases at an abrupt angle. This is because the hair is hollow. You may ask, what is the importance of a hollow hair? Hollow hairs trap air next to the animals skin. This increases the insulative qualities of the moose’s coat. There is also the thought that the hollow tubes actually transmit sunlight directly to the skin! Pretty Cool, eh?

Behavioral Adaptations: On those really cold days with deep snows it may be quite difficult to find a moose moving around feeding. Subconsciously moose and others animals are carefully reviewing their energy balance all winter long. Energy expense is high in the winter because of the cold and the challenges of moving through deep snow. Quality of the food is low in the winter. You can see the challenge! On very cold and snowy days it is in the best interest of moose to say put and wait out the storm. Much more energy would be spent browsing for food then what the food would return in calories. In these situations moose will lay on top of their legs to reduce the amount of surface area of the body exposed to the elements to reduce heat loss. Genius I’d say!

On our wildlife tours we enjoy sharing this place we love so much with our guests. We will travel to the wildlife hotspots inside Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and the National Elk Refuge. Our park tours are a great activity for skiers and non-skiers alike. Maximize your time in the area. Book a tour today!

Mountain Monarchs

December 2nd, 2013

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Bighorn Sheep, also known as Ovis Canadensis, is my favorite species of wildlife to watch during their early winter rut.   They can be seen from close distances while they are completely indifferent to human presence.  Early December, Rams are in the process of, or have just, established a dominance hierarchy.  It is possible to see rams present their horns as an identifying feature to one another.    Rams size each other up and possibly clash to identify their status.   Clashes are incredibly impressive to watch.   Rams don’t give much notice when they are about to clash.   Often they are standing 20 yards apart then they run and when they are about to make contact they will rear up on their hind legs and make contact with their keratinous horns.   This crash can be heard up to a mile away.   Mature rams may clash up to a dozen times in an hour.    You may see the contestants then rub scent on each other from their preorbital scent gland for latter recognition. 

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The keen observer might have the opportunity to watch young and old rams alike advance toward a ewe and force the female to stand up and urinate with a light kick.  The male might then taste or smell the urine and exhibit the flehmen response.  Look for the rams extending their neck out and curling their upper lip up.   The main function is to transfer scent to the Jacobson organ to assess chemical clues.  Males during the rut often exhibit the flehmen response to identity the reproductive status of a particular ewe. 

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Enjoy one of our winter wildlife EcoTours to explore Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park.  We provide a great introduction to the National Park and Western Wyoming while observing as much wildlife as possible.   This is an educational activity for couples and families alike.   Call for more details, we guarantee a wildlife tour to remember.     

Fall Wildlife Safaris

September 29th, 2013

Eco Tour Adventure’s fall wildlife safaris have been featured in several national newspapers including The LA Times, Washington Post, and Boston Herald.

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Autumn is has arrived in Jackson Hole. The summer rush has passed, the children are back in school, and the crowds are starting to thin out. With the change in season comes a change in wildlife behavior. The summer has been hot, and many of the animals that call this place home hunker down in the shade or close to the water to keep cool.  There are many physical and behavioral adaptations that help animals keep cool in the summer or conversely warm in the winter.  On one of our educational wildlife watching programs you just might have the opportunity to see a large bull moose bedded down by a body of water in the comfort of the shade with their legs extended to help dissipate their body heat.  During the winter months you might find the same moose in a different habitat type laying on top of their long gangly legs, reducing the surface area of their body exposed to the winter weather.     

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On our half or full day educational adventures in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park during the fall months there are opportunities around every corner to observe species like elk, moose, bison, pronghorn, mule deer, eagles, white pelicans, swans, bears, and river otters. If the stars align correctly then we can even get a glimpse of some of Grand Teton National Park’s 50-60 wolves.  

 

Elk are my favorite species to observe in the fall. Come on a tour to get a better feel for what you are seeing unraveling in the field. Fall marks the elk rut or breeding season.  Here the mature bull elk are making their case for why they should be the breeders of the year. Generally the most “fit” bulls have the opportunity to sire most of the females in a population. Males are displaying their impressive antlers that may weigh as much as 40lbs a pair. One of the most impressive sounds that we hear in our woods is the sound of the male elk bugle. Just think of a sound that one would hear on a scary Halloween night. A scream that echoes through the forest for up to a mile. Males bugle back and forth to each other advertising their fitness and stamina, all the while the female are listening with their heads down grazing.   The most “fit” males accumulate on average 26 females that they intend to breed with. The males will then keep “their” ladies in a tight group keeping other adult males from entering his harem.  

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It’s a pretty amazing sight to see a mature bull with antlers spanning 6 feet walking out of the morning fog, bugling with head up and his ladies all around.    

 

Let us have the opportunity to share this wonderful ecosystem with your group.  Western Wyoming will take on a whole new light as your learn about this incredible area while your time is maximized viewing the area’s abundant wildlife.  

Let the Rut Begin!

August 28th, 2013

Late summer is the beginning of breeding season in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park. Right now bison are gathering for the annual August rut and you can hear the loudest, snorts, roars, sneezing, and belches across the valley. The bison rut is so exciting to watch because of the action between bulls to show dominance. The bulls wallow and communicate a series of sounds from snorts to grunts to display their strength and vigor. bison-wallowing-for-the-rut-019.jpg

During the rut, lone bulls and bull groups join the cow and calf groups and begin courting the females. Once a bull has found a female close to estrus, he will stay by her side to keep other bulls from mating with her. After bison mate, they break up within hours and the bull moves on to other females.

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Also, the bull elk are beginning to bugle and this mating ritual can be heard at night in certain areas of the park. “Bugling” is meant to challenge other males as well as attract females.

Join us for an Eco Tour to observe the breeding activity in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park.

Summer in Jackson Hole

June 17th, 2013

 

Summer is in full swing here in the Tetons. The valley is covered with Arrowleaf Balsamroot, Lupines, and Yellow Violet wildflowers. There are over 100 different types of native wildflowers in Wyoming and in the summer Jackson Hole is filled with their bright colors. This is a great time for photography capturing all the diverse flora amongst the Tetons.

Wildflowers in Grand Teton National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past few weeks we have had some great wolf sightings. We have been observing a wolf pack where the alpha female gave birth to 7 black wolf pups this spring.

Wolf in the Tetons

 

At the end of 2012, there were 7 packs in Jackson Hole between the Elk Refuge and north end of Grand Teton National Park: Huckleberry Pack (6 wolves), Lower Gros Ventre (5), Pacific Creek (13), Phantom Springs (8), Pinnacle Peak (10), Snake River (4), and 781 Group (2), for a minimum of 48 wolves.



Collectively, these and other wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem disperse and form new packs and territories, resulting in a dynamic and continuously evolving wolf population.

Join us for an Eco Tour to learn about all the wildlife that abounds in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park.

 

Happy New Year!!!

January 24th, 2013

Here at EcoTour Adventures we are very excited and humbled that TripAdvisor.com listed us as one of the

 

“GREAT WILDLIFE TOURS OF THE WORLD”       check the below link to see where we stand.

 

http://www.tripadvisor.com/InfoCenter-a_ctr.wildlifetours

Thanks to our past guests that have posted reviews, we couldn’t of done it without your kind words.   

Grand Tetons

 The New Year has brought some super cold temperatures to the Jackson Hole Area.  Last week we recorded -33 in Teton Village.   These cold

 

temperatures didn’t stop us a bit.  We bundled up and headed out into park for some amazing sights.  

 

 Animal adaptations, both behavioral and physical can be astounding.    A good example of a great behavioral adaption that moose employ to “beat the

 

cold” would be something as simple as laying on their legs.    This reduces the surface area of their body that is exposed to the cold.  YOU BET, that

 

when the temperatures are -20 to -30 that many of our ungulates are laying directly on top of their legs.  

Best tours in Jackson Hole

 

 

An example of a physical adaption that we seen in moose would be their long and hollow guard hairs.  These long guard hairs help block the natural

 

elements (ie. wind, rain, and snow) as well provide great insulation.   

 

If you are interested in maximizing your time in the park observing the area’s wildlife and learning about this great ecosystem do keep us in mind for

 

tours.   

 All of our guides have backgrounds in the sciences and are eager to share their experiences and knowledge with our guests.

 

Wildlife Tours Grand Teton

 

 

We hope to have the opportunity to tour with you down the road!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Just Might Be My Favorite Time To Be In the Parks

August 31st, 2012

Fall is right around the corner.   The temperatures are dropping and we are seeing some changes in the area.    The bison rut is finishing up and the elk are gearing up for their rut.    

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We have had some frosts the past two weeks (a reminder that it is time to start covering the garden at night once again) but the daytime temperatures are still in the 80ies most days. 

 

September and October is such a great time to tour with EcoTour Adventures.   The crowds are thin and the wildlife is very active.  

 

This just may be my favorite time to be in the parks.  

 

 

For myself the elk are the most interesting to watch.  On tours we view elk from places that most visitors will not find on their own so we have the elk’s behavioral display all to ourselves.     It is captivating to watch them contain their harem of female cow elk. 

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Typically an adult bull will acquire a harem of 2-26 cows.  On occasion I have seen harems up to 90 cows.   

 

The adult bull works hard to keep his cows contained and to keep the satellite bulls from entering his group of cows.   It’s quite the spectacle to observe. 

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Explore with EcoTour Adventures to observe the natural world in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.