As we enter the depths of summer, the bison are keen to get rid of the last vestiges of their winter coats. One of the ways they do that is by taking a nice “dirt bath” – lying down and rolling. With as big as they are, they don’t exactly look graceful doing it but it does make for some cool scenes. This big boy got done wallowing, stood up and let loose with a big shake, sending a dust cloud flying.
I am used to getting disapproving looks from my photo subjects, I just kind of seem to have that effect on them. This guy, however, almost made me want to whither away with that look, particularly as he was one of the biggest bulls I have ever seen.
He was lying down, just relaxing in South Dakota’s Black Hills but when I came along, he did not seem to thrilled. 😉
The early morning light was low on the horizon casting some deep shadows on one side of him and really lighting up the other. A harsh-ish conversion to black and white really made the lighter side of him “pop” and draw attention to that eye. Awesome!
One for Tatanka Tuesday taken this past weekend.
This massive bison bull was on the move and looking pretty intimidating as it walked toward me. The light was low so a conversion to black and white helps hide that and adds to the drama I think. As you can tell, his fur was looking a bit rough as he is shedding his winter coat.
It used to be we called these guys buffalo but that actually was incorrect. While they are part of the same family that includes the European and African buffalo, the bison is its own, distinct species. It is believed they were called buffalo by early North American explorers due to their resemblance to the Old-World species. Native Americans call them tatanka, a Lakota word that translated means “bull buffalo.”
Out for my photo drive Saturday morning, I thought the snow was pretty much done but Mother Nature showed me otherwise.
After a brief bit of sun, a pretty strong snow squall moved in, adding to the white on the ground. The snow was strong enough, it made photography difficult and forced me to switch to manual focus to try to get some shots.
These two bulls were on the move to a different area to graze. Of course the snow didn’t faze them one bit as they are certainly built to withstand the conditions.
When you weigh close to 2,000 pounds and standing almost six feet tall, finding a good hiding place on the Great Plains is not easy. For you and I, tall, thick grass would easily conceal us but for these guys, it isn’t quite so easy. 😉
This was kind of a fun, different view of our national mammal. This big boy was lying down in the grass, peering just over the top of the grass right at me. I imagined him saying to himself, “If I don’t move, he won’t be able to spot me.”
It is birthing season for the bison and the mamas at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge have been busy. As of a week ago, 13 calves had been welcomed into the herd so far.
On Sunday, only one new mom was willing to let me get pics but that is okay – it was quite a cutie and already seemed to have a handle on how to pose for pictures. Needless to say, a very fitting image to share on Tatanka Tuesday.
Somehow I think he would fair worse with this bison bull than taking on that little bird! 😀
I had a ton of fun watching this coyote as it patrolled the prairie this past weekend. More than once it walked right by the bison but they paid it no attention.
Certainly, one coyote poses no threat to a full-grown bison and I am sure the coyote knew better than to try anything. If there had been a pack of them, then I suspect the bison might have reacted differently. As is, the coyote was simply walking by and ended up on the opposite side of the road where it dined on a cache of some sort of meat it had stashed.
A pretty cool capture of this massive king of the Great Plains on a frosty winter morning late last month.
As usual, the bull had its nose to the ground grazing most of the time. A frost had coated the landscape and the bison itself with temperatures below freezing. As the sun started peeking over the horizon, he lifted his head, looking right at the glowing orb and lighting up his face casting a beautiful glow on its horns and in his eyes. Definitely a capture of our national mammal that I really like.
Check out this bad boy! Taken a few weeks ago on a very cold morning on the Colorado plains. He was large and in charge and he definitely seemed to know it. His fur had a light coating of frost on it and the filtered sunlight of the rising sun really lit him up beautifully. Have to say, this must be one of my favorite bison pics I have taken and is definitely worthy of sharing for Tatanka Tuesday.
Bison bulls battle in the snow. It has been a long time since I have been able to witness this action. Cold weather usually makes the wildlife active and this past Saturday, these two younger bulls were having a lot of fun sparring.
For more than a half hour, the two pushed, shoved and stabbed at each other going back and forth. That allowed me time to switch to video and grab a some cool action. The second sequence about 40 seconds in is closer.
It isn’t the rut so this was most likely just “playing” but goodness, it looked pretty darned rough and painful to me!