At times, around 100 years or so ago, some early settlers in this region created fur farms. As with all farming it’s hard to make a living; all farming is a crap shoot. By midcentury most attempts had failed. Furbearers were released to try to make it on their own. Mink and fox either adapted or expired.

No one seems to have followed their fate, but around the 1950s fox were unknown in Jackson Hole.

Then a local, Cheri Hartgrave, spotted a fox as she headed over Togwotee Pass in the early ’70s.

A “surprise to be sure,” Cheri remembers.

I’m not saying that was the first fox to return on its own, but I’d like to think so.

And now biologists are studying the fox dynamics in Jackson Hole.

Also in the 1970s, Meg and I found a dead raccoon while coming into town from Bondurant. Also a surprise. I’m not saying this was the first raccoon to make it to the valley, but, I’m just sayin’ ...

The above recollections were spurred by a frolic of foxes visible close at hand. Young, four-legged critters sure can be cute.

Field notes: Rose-breasted grosbeaks have been making the news this week with sighting in the Fall Creek area by Steve Poole and Ann Harvey.

K.O. Strohbehn was happy to report that her “handsome black-chinned hummingbird” has shown up twice so far this spring (when she was home to see him). She is glad to see him back again this year.

Pamela Periconi reports a myriad of hummingbirds — more than 30, too many to count — at her feeders at The Aspens.

A clay-colored sparrow was reported by Wes and Shirley Timmerman.

Many, many Western tanagers are reported around in large groups around the valley by Joan Lucas, Shirley and Wes Timmerman and Mary Lohuis.

Tim Griffith reports that the South Park Wildlife Habitat Management Area “has been pretty birdy lately.” Earlier this week Tim tallied 61 species, including a black tern and six red-necked phalaropes. On another day he counted 57 species, and one of them was a willow flycatcher. Tim’s total species count for the month at South Park is 101 species. Way to go, Tim.

Susan Patla had great sightings at Packsaddle Creek in Teton Valley, Idaho. She reported the last of the migrants are arriving in force. She saw and heard a number of warbling vireos, dusky flycatchers, hermit and Swainson’s thrushes, McGillvray’s warblers, plus an unexpected plumbeous vireo, which was singing. You rarely see or hear those in Teton Valley.

Happy June!

Bert Raynes writes weekly on whatever suits his fancy with a dash of news on nature. Contact him at

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