Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Antelope Island

bison on Antelope Island, Utah
Bison on Antelope Island
Sit back while I hum a few bars...Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope play...

OK, all done! This was one of the best places we went on our trip. It's a whopping big ten bucks to get on the island and we were there almost 5 hours. You can camp here and hike and go swimming or just hang out on the beach but all around you are these fantastic animals and views.

The bison go where the bison go and you stop the car or walk in a different direction if you come across them. Bison are like other ruminants in that they spend a heck of a lot of time grazing. It was pretty hard to get a photo of one with it's head up. And that's where your troubles start. When bison stop doing what bison do because there are humans around it's because they are warning you. If the bison looks directly at you and does not then resume grazing that's your first warning you're too close. Next comes the pawing and snorting and tail waving. Still standing there? Not a good idea. This is what happens. (No need to watch the whole video, the money shot is the still photo. See the legs? That's the offending guy mashed up against the fence.)

BTW, these are bison. 'Buffalo' comes from a lot of misnomers from lots of different languages. (Le boeuf from the French explorers to the English changing that to la buff to buffler to buffalo. But they're really bison. American bison.) But you can call them either name, they're not about to answer.
bison on Antelope Island, Utah
Bison not doing what bison do, we drove away!

pronghorn antelope on Antelope Island, Utah
Pronghorn antelope - native to the island

Bison on Antelope Island, Utah
More bison on the salt flats of the Great Salt Lake

Bridger Bay on Antelope Island looking off to the Wasatch Mountains
Bridger Bay on Antelope Island looking off to the Wasatch Mountains

Chukar Antelope Island, Utah
Local bird called the Chukar. They popped up all over.

Chukar making its getaway.


Another antelope

Us on Antelope Island

Looking off to the Wasatch Mountains. Where we are is about 4600' above sea level.

That white van off in the distance is where we parked the car before we started hiking straight uphill.
What's interesting about this hike is that all along the side of the narrow trail were bison pies. (Like cow pies pretty much.) Which means, we figured, it was only a matter of time before we rounded a corner to find a small herd of bison grazing. I can truthfully say I was not looking forward to that.

As it was, we did see them down below. And, yes, that's a walking trail they're grazing around.

Bison herd by White Rock Bay

White Rock Bay, Antelope Island, Utah
White Rock Bay

We interrupted this coyote and its mate in the process of stalking a chukar that was standing in the middle of the road. Not sure if they would have chased it down as the chukar had a ample room to fly away. But it was interesting to see the coyotes meander off. This one knew we were there, we stopped the car right on the road where it had just been. When we didn't drive off they both loped off into the scrub.

Coyote studiously ignoring us.
Fielding Garr Ranch is about as far as you can drive on the island. The trail continues on but it is more of a horse, bike and walking trail at that point. The original house and other structures are open to walk through. This guy was coming out from under the bunkhouse. It was just starting to warm up enough. I asked one of the guides who said they'd be quite prevalent pretty soon. They are non venomous and are useful for keeping the rodent population under control. Something definitely useful on a farm or ranch.

Gopher snake. It was, as you can kind of see, crawling out from under the building.

One more bison for the road...

More bison
You know, it doesn't look that big with the telephoto lens. But it was easily the size (and weight) of the Chevy Cruze we were driving.

After this we head east again on our way to Arches National Park. Another amazing day.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main Street Freeport, Maine 04032

No comments: