June in Yellowstone

Seasonal Phenology Notes from the Greater Yellowstone Area

On this page you’ll find June phenology notes for Yellowstone and surrounding areas (mainly Cody, WY). If you’re wondering what it’s like in Yellowstone in June – browse through to get an idea.

June 1

  • 1938: Yellowstone – Two young Camp-robbers (Perisoreus canadensis) were brought into the feeding station near our cabin by their parents, and have remained in the vicinity. They will come up on the back porch to eat and are very tame. One of them was suffering from either an injury or weakness when the two young birds arrived, but no trace now remains of any infirmity and they both are thriving on Ranger Station fare. The first young Clark’s Nutcrackers (Nucifraga columbia) did not appear in our neighborhood until June 14, and were nearly adult size when first seem. No nests were found this year although two families nested nearby last spring. – Marguerite L. Arnold (from Yellowstone Nature Notes Vol XV, Nos. 5-6 | Leaves from our Diaries)
  • 1938: Yellowstone | Lamar Valley – Several weeks ago, Olin Van Buskirk stopped me to ask the name of a bird which he had seen in the Lamar River Valley. His description fellows: “A bird about the size of a robin and with a breast like a robin; yet more like a sport-model blackbird; streamlined like a woodpecker; and flew like a kingfisher.” Puzzled at first by such a composite and inclusive description, I finally suspicioned that Mr. Van Buskirk had seen a Lewis Woodpecker (Asyndesmus lewisi). A visit to the area confirmed my guess, and I found that a pair of these birds were nesting in the vicinity. They did fly much like kingfishers and upon several occasions I observed them feeding along the margin of the river in much the same manner as the flycatchers. – W.E. Kearns(from Yellowstone Nature Notes Vol XV, Nos. 5-6 | Leaves from our Diaries)

June 3

  • 2018: Drive from Cody to Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser Basin and back to Cody. | Bald Eagle at Clearwater Campground | One bison at Pahaska | Talus Fall is still flowing. | Ice is still on Eleanor Lake. | Roadkill between Canyon & Norris – 1 porcupine, 1 marten | Osprey seen flying over the Steamboat Geyser area. | Boreal chorus frogs heard just west of Canyon. | Elk cow and calf at Alum Creek (also watched an American white pelican and heard more Boreal chorus frogs while in the elk jam). | Jacob’s Ladder blooming at Sedge Bay.| About a dozen Bighorn Sheep rams on Sylvan Pass. | 1 Mule Deer at the east gate. | 1 bison at Pahaska (still) and 1 more just above Sleeping Giant Ski area.

June 4

  • 1966: GTNP  | Moran Junction – Leopard Lily and Cutleaf Daisy at P.O. [the Post Office in Moran Junction]. Cool & Cloudy. 10 snowflakes. Fished below the dam [Jackson Lake Dam] – no fish. StarflowerHenbane & Biscuitroot and Blue-eyed Mary [in bloom]. (Grandma Lyndall’s Journal)
  • 2013: Yellowstone | Upper Geyser Basin – Shooting Stars in full bloom at Black Sand Basin.
  • 2017: Day trip from Cody to Yellowstone and back to Cody. | The Shoshone River looks like it’s out of its banks in spots. | Grizzly Bear with two cubs of the year (coy) crossed the road in front of me at Newton Springs with a fish in her mouth. | Eleanor Lake has open water in spots. | Sylvan Lake is still mostly frozen over. | Dandelions in bloom at the Teton overlook. | Two Grizzly Bears (“Raspberry” and “Snow”) at Sedge bay, napping on the hillside. | Coyote at Mary Bay. | Tree Swallows nesting near Black Pool at West Thumb Geyser Basin. | Killdeer seen at West Thumb GB. | Isa Lake is ice free. | Boreal chorus frogs heard near Little Thumb Creek.
  • 2018: Day Trip from Cody to Yellowstone and back. | Evening Primrose blooming at the Palisades (they weren’t open yesterday). | Talus Fall flowing strong. | Ice on Eleanor Lake. | Lupine blooming above the hairpin turn on Cub Creek. | Two Grizzly Bears (“Raspberry” and “Snow”) just below the Teton overlook. | 1 Trumpeter Swan in Hayden Valley. | Black Bear just north of Hayden Valley and South of the South Rim of the canyon. | Steamboat Geyser eruption at 0904! | Shooting Stars blooming below Castle Geyser.
  • 2019: Cody WY | First iris in the garden bloomed at the house.

June 5

  • 2011: Yellowstone | Firehole Lake Drive – Indian Paintbrush all about to open – none found fully in bloom, though. Shooting Stars in bloom.

June 6

  • 1966: GTNP – Fished below dam [Jackson Lake Dam] – WO caught a nice big brown for our supper. Service berry is in bloom. Lots of swallows flying over Snake [River]. (Lyndall’s Journal)
  • 2020: Cody WY | “Tennis ball bunnies” are out (Cottontail Rabbit babies) are starting to explore. | Minnie’s Iris (Wabash variety) are in full bloom. | Seeing American Robin fledglings around. The house wren looks like it’s finally sitting on eggs in the bluebird house. They built the nest up to the level of the opening that we have an extension on. First time this bird house has been used since we put it up four or five years ago.

June 7

  • 1966: GTNP – Rained a little and drizzled. Watched movie making. (Lyndall’s Journal)
  • 2007: Yellowstone | Craig Pass – Isa Lake -Blossom buds of the Yellow Pond Lily (Nuphar lutea) just beginning to show above the water, but none in bloom yet.
  • 2018: Day Trip Cody to Yellowstone to West Yellowstone and back to Cody | Fox at Eagle Creek Campground. | Talus Fall is flowing. | Eleanor Lake is 98% ice-free. | Two Grizzly Bears (“Raspberry” and “Snow”) at 9-mile parking lot. This turned out to be one of the last days they were seen together. | Boreal chorus frogs heard at Mary Bay. | Yellow Waterlily leaves just starting to emerge above the water at Isa Lake. | Marmot in the Chinese Spring area with hair missing from its tail and back end. | Blooming along the path from the bridge to Geyser Hill: Larkspur, Field Chickweed, Mountain Dandelion, Wild Strawberries and Star Flowers. | Heard a report that the Wapiti wolf pack was seen between Mary Mountain and Crater Hills.

June 8

  • 1966: GTNP – Drizzled and rained. About 2 had cleared and fished at Bert’s [?] Bay – one nice Brown [trout]. (Lyndall’s Journal)
  • 2019: Snow today in Yellowstone that closed the South and East entrances as well as Dunraven Pass and the Beartooth Highway.

June 9

  • 1966: GTNP  – To Polecat to fish – 3 moose. (Grandma Lyndall’s Journal)
  • 2017: Cody to Yellowstone for Tour Guide Training. | Sylvan Lake is ice free. | Bighorn Sheep were seen on the talus slopes at the to of Sylvan Pass.

June 10

  • 1938: Yellowstone – Since May 17, a Red Tail Hawk’s (Buteo borealis) nest, situated near the crest of a sheer cliff, has been under observation. Sometime during the last two days one of the three eggs hatched cut and the young hawk has already consumed an entire ground squirrel (?). As I stood perched upon the edge of the sheer wall watching the young bird five feet below, the mother bird dived like a bullet and zoomed over my head not three feet away. The suddenness of the charge was so unexpected that I came near losing my balance. It is proposed to gather the castings from this nest throughout the season in order to learn mere of the feed habits of these birds in this section of Yellowstone. – Frank R. Oberhansley (from Yellowstone Nature Notes Vol XV, Nos. 5-6 | Leaves from our Diaries)
  • 2016: Yellowstone | Sylvan Pass – Stopped at Sylvan Lake Picnic area and “Sylvan Falls” pullout to see what was blooming: Sticky Current, Wild Geranium, Yellow Columbine, Serviceberry, Arrowleaf Baslasmroot, Spring Beauties, Globeflower, Glacier Lilies, Fendler’s Meadow Rue (or some variety of Meadow Rue) was just about to open up its blossoms.

June 12

  • 1937: Yellowstone | Yellowstone Lake – The unusual sight of beaver (Castor canadensis canadensis) on Yellowstone Lake was enjoyed by many rangers and ranger naturalists when three beaver were seen swimming near the pier by the Lake Fish Hatchery. The mission of the animals was undetermined but it is possible that they were circling a the lake in quest of a more favorable environment than that of the east shore where some beaver have been found in the past.Beaver seem to prefer smaller bodies of water and streams where there is an abundance of aspen (Populus tremuloides) and willows (Salix sp.) but in Yellowstone Park the beaver live under widely varying conditions of environment so that it is not surprising to find them near any body of cold water. –Jennings J. King (from Yellowstone Nature Notes Vol XIV, Nos 9-10 | Leaves from our Diaries)
  • 2020: Full Field Journal entry can be found here.

June 13

  • 2007: Yellowstone | Fountain Flats Drive – Canadian Geese with goslings foraging as a family.
  • 2020: Cody, WY | Moths showed up in profuse abundance this morning. | Lost Creek Fire started near the Buffalo Bill Cody Ranch on the North Fork. | Ishawooa Horse’s Head check showed the reins very close to breaking.

June 14

  • 2007: Yellowstone | Fountain Flats Drive – Two pairs of Canadian Geese with goslings of different ages. Three with one pair, and only one with the other.
  • 2018: Raccoons got the Tree Swallow nest on the small bird box, destroying the birdhouse in the process.

June 17

  • 2014: Cody | In Town – Quite a few reports of brand new Mule Deer fawns being heard today and yesterday. Fresh snow on Carter mountain today as well as seen on the Bighorn Mountains. More likely tonight. Rain in town.
  • 2016: Yellowstone | Lamar Valley – Took the class, Mastering Your Naturalist Skills with the Yellowstone Association.

June 18

  • 2009: Yellowstone | West Thumb Geyser Basin – An American Robin gathered a beakful of grubs – likely feeding a brood somewhere nearby.
  • 2014: Yellowstone | Upper Geyser Basin – Snowing today, also in Gardiner.
  • 2017: Cody to Yellowstone and back to Cody. | A marmot family was sunning themselves near Rock Pool on Geyser Hill. The babies looked about half grown – counted three offspring. | Talus Fall flowing strong. | Willows leafing out at Sylvan Lake. | Blue-eyed grass blooming in the Upper Geyser Basin.

June 19

  • 2017: Yellowstone | Cow elk with calves walked across the hillside behind Grand Geyser. | Boreal chorus frogs heard above Kepler falls (about 2-3 minutes drive above).
  • 2018: Cody to Yellowstone and Back | Two Grizzly Bears (“Raspberry” and a boyfriend) at the Teton Overlook most of the day from reports. | Moose with a calf at about Chimney Rock along the North Fork.

June 20

  • 1938: Yellowstone | Indian Pond -> Bridge Bay area – Two grey mantled ground squirrels (Callospermophilus lateralis cinerascens) meet the auto caravan each day at the Natural Bridge. They come out from under a pile of brush and oat nuts and candy from the hands of the ranger naturalist and tourists. Those little animals have made a regular appearance so far this season and are enjoyed by the crowd going on the trip.Each morning on the nature walk a young bull moose is observed at the mouth of the outlet of Yellowstone River adjacent to the campground. He has made several trips into the campground and provides much amusement for the travelers.Buffalo (Bison bison) and large herds of elk are observed each evening on the old east entrance road just above Squaw Lake. Many tourists have been able to see these animals each evening. – Lowell G. Biddulph (from Yellowstone Nature Notes Vol XV, Nos. 5-6 | Leaves from our Diaries)
  • 1968:  Moran Junction | Turpin Meadows – Grouse lit in tree by clothes line and ate leaves. (Lyndall’s Journal)
  • 2018: Cody to YNP to West Yellowstone and back to Cody | Talus Fall is still flowing. | Bighorn Sheep rams at the top of Sylvan Pass (this was the last I saw them this summer).

June 21

  • 1968: GTNP  (possibly Turpin Meadows) – WO caught 2 nice fish & lost a big one up near the poacher’s rock. Water high and fast. Saw lots of “trimber [tree?] swallows” (Grandma Lyndall’s Journal)

June 22

  • 1938: Yellowstone | Canyon – The Western Tanagers (Piranga ludoviciana) are mere numerous at Canyon this year than in past years. The other evening when going in to the Grizzly Grounds, I saw a male feeding in a tree over the trail. Hundreds of people passed immediately beneath the tree, but few saw this brightly colored bird as he dined on insects a scant three and a half feet above the path. – F. Anderson (from Yellowstone Nature Notes Vol XV, Nos. 5-6 | Leaves from our Diaries)
  • 2017: Cody to YNP to West Yellowstone and back to Cody | Overcast with rain today. | Talus Fall flowing strong. | One bison below the hairpin curve at Cub Creek (Is he the last one in?) | Yellow Columbine and many-flowered phlox blooming near Lake Butte Overlook. | Tree Swallow at Oblong Bridge approached the nest entrance on the bridge support, but then fluttered by it and didn’t enter. Are the chicks fledging?

June 23

  • 2020: Cody, WY | We found a tiny eggshell on the grass below the house wren’s nest in the bluebird house. Verified it as belonging to the wrens.

June 24

  • 2018: Cody to Yellowstone and back. | Grizzly bear seen at Chimney Rock on the North Fork. | Talus Fall flowing. | Flowers seen blooming at West Thumb Geyser Basin: field chickweed, clover, lupine, larkspur, sulfur buckwheat. Close to blooming: pussytoes and wild strawberries. | Mosquitoes fierce at West Thumb GB today.

June 27

  • 1937: Yellowstone – While splitting blocks of wood for use as fuel today, one block disclosed the channel of the wood borers in which had been trapped an adult Long Horned Woodborer (Moncochamus oregonensis). The inch-long body of the beetle has attached to it the two-inch jointed antennae which usually lie along the back. This beetle lays eggs in the tree trunk which develop into the larvae which cut channels often three-eighths of an inch to one-half inch in diameter through the trunk. –Jennings J. King (from Yellowstone Nature Notes Vol XIV, Nos 9-10 | Leaves from our Diaries)
  • 1968: GTNP – Saw Stellar Jay at 4 mi picnic area. (Grandma Lyndall’s Journal)
  • 2017: Cody, WY | Raccoons must have gotten into the tree swallow’s nest in the birdhouse. Feathers all around and no swallows seen at all. | Saw a baldface hornet in the garden. | Chased a “tennis ball bunny” (Cottontail rabbit) from the garden

June 29

  • 1937: Yellowstone | Biscuit Basin – Today while conducting the “geyser chasing” caravan from Old Faithful a bit of activity was discovered at the Black Pearl Pools in Biscuit Basin. As the party was standing on the walk at the side of the pools a huge gas bubble rose and broke with a great detonation in the lower hot pool. The unexpected “explosion” startled the visitors and suggested the possibilities of another disturbance such as that of the winter of 1935 when huge pieces of rock were thrown from this Pool to distances as great as seventy feet. During previous and following visits to these pools no such disturbances have been noted. –Jennings J. King (from Yellowstone Nature Notes Vol XIV, Nos 9-10 | Leaves from our Diaries)

June 30

  • 1968: Moran Junction | Turpin Meadows  – Snowed all night – but melted almost as soon as it fell. Everything was white this AM. (Lyndall’s Journal)