Bison

August 24, 2016 at 6:09 am (National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildlife) (, , , )

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Bison are an iconic symbol of the West, and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is one of the reasons they still survive. Here is the story from the refuge’s website.

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“Between 1830-1880, the American bison, or buffalo, was reduced in numbers from 60 million to a mere handful.”

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Bison dust themselves to help keep off the flies, which you can see are in abundance if you enlarge the photo.

“By 1900 there were only two small wild herds in all of North America, numbering only 550 animals. This change was accelerated in the last 40 years of the 19th century by the coming of the buffalo hunter and thousands of land-hungry settlers. Farsighted conservation leaders such as President Theodore Roosevelt became concerned. They realized that this native American animal could easily become extinct.”

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“In 1905, William T. Hornaday and others organized the American Bison Society and demanded that the buffalo be given care and protection. Through the efforts of the American Bison Society and the New York Zoological Society, an offer was made to donate 15 bison to the Wichita National Forest and Game Preserve in Oklahoma. Congress set aside $15,000 for this purpose, and on October 11, 1907, 15 of the finest buffalo from the New York Zoological Park were shipped by rail to Oklahoma. Seven days later, these six bulls and nine cows had safely returned to the plains and mountains.”

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“There was great excitement in the little southwestern Oklahoma town of Cache when the train pulled in with the heavily-crated buffalo. The great Comanche Chief Quanah Parker was among those who came to the station.”

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“The crates were transferred to wagons and hauled the 13 miles to the Wichitas. People from the whole countryside flocked into the Wichita Forest to see the shaggy beasts.”

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“Mounted braves and their families rode in to see the bison of the plains that had provided meat and teepee skins for untold generations of their ancestors. ”

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“The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge was established to protect wildlife species that were in grave danger of extinction, and to restore species that had been eliminated from the area. Bison were reintroduced, along with elk and wild turkey. More recent reintroductions include the prairie dog, the river otter, and burrowing owls.”

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I’m fortunate this is only a 20-minute drive from my home.

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Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

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August in Wichita Mountains

August 21, 2016 at 6:18 pm (Uncategorized)

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August… The birds have stopped singing. The cicadas buzz in the trees. Bison calves born in March are half-grown. It’s a time of seed-setting and harvest in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma.

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Evenings are a great time to be in the prairie landscape. The late sun adds warmth, and it cools off some. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wichita Mountains Lagniappe

July 31, 2016 at 4:30 am (Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildflowers, Wildlife)

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Mississippi Kite

Since my job here in Oklahoma serves as a wonderful outlet for my creative need to explore via photography and writing, I’ve paid less attention to my blog. So here’s a big of lagniappe for images I don’t think I’ve used yet in my explorations of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge this summer. Read the rest of this entry »

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July in the Wichita Mountains

July 5, 2016 at 5:24 am (Birds - Oklahoma, Dragonflies and Bugs, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildflowers, Wildlife)

Bobwhite male

Bobwhite male

Since joining federal service in 2009 I’ve been privileged to live and work in some gorgeous places. I logged thousands of travel miles exploring Far West Texas, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, and California. Now that I’m in Oklahoma, my urge to explore beyond my backyard has been tempered by this fantastic national wildlife refuge only 20 minutes from home.

Lake Quanah Parker and plains coreopsis

Lake Quanah Parker and plains coreopsis

I try to visit once a week, and the thing is, I rarely need to venture far from the car. There are SO many treasures alongside the road, and frankly the car acts as a photography blind. Were I to get out when I saw the bobwhite, he would have disappeared before I got the door closed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wichita Mountains – Late June

June 19, 2016 at 1:26 pm (Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, Dragonflies and Bugs, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildflowers, Wildlife)

Cow elk and youngster

Cow elk and youngster

People who have been here awhile say the lushness of the wildflowers and prairie grasses is the best they’ve seen in awhile. There was a drought the previous few years, but this spring has been abundantly wet.

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The elk on the refuge were reintroduced in the early 1900s after the native Merriam’s elk were exterminated. The Rocky Mountain subspecies is larger, and numbers between 700 and 800 at the refuge. Read the rest of this entry »

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Early June in the Wichitas

June 12, 2016 at 2:47 pm (Butterflies, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildflowers, Wildlife)

Echinacea, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Echinacea, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Today the angels are having a bowling tournament, and they must have busted some water pipes because the morning has been as dark as dusk behind a waterfall. I planned to enjoy another sunny Sunday at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge but I’ll have to relive the memories of last week with this blog post.

Large Wood Nymph on buttonbush blossom

Large Wood Nymph on buttonbush blossom

Because of Oklahoma’s location in the country’s midsection, there are a lot of flora and fauna I’m familiar with from both east and west. Sometimes, like with the buttonbush above, I’m reminded of my year in the Okefenokee swamp. There were several butterfly species feasting on the nectar, several of which were new to me. Read the rest of this entry »

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Prairie Dog Pups

June 2, 2016 at 6:20 pm (National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildlife) ()

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There are two main prairie dog towns that are easily visible from the road in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. In April the pups started appearing, and have been very active throughout May. The threadleaf thelesperma is the predominant flower in the refuge, and it seems to really like being in prairie dog towns because they keep the grass short.

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These black-tailed prairie dogs show the black tips more as youngsters. Read the rest of this entry »

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May in the Wichitas

May 30, 2016 at 4:01 pm (Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, Butterflies, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Photography, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildflowers) (, , )

Lake Quanah Parker, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Lake Quanah Parker, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

I see some of my Maine friends posting their spring photographs and I smile to myself. Spring comes very, very late in Maine. We’ve had Spring for three months here in southwest Oklahoma.

Threadleaf Thelesperma is the predominant field flower now.

Threadleaf Thelesperma is the predominant field flower now.

The rains have kept the prairie flowers coming, with some old ones going to seed now, and a few new ones coming in. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wichita Mountains in Bloom

May 21, 2016 at 4:32 pm (National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildflowers)

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Wordless Saturday. The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is in bloom! Read the rest of this entry »

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Critters of the Wichitas – Videos

May 20, 2016 at 7:15 am (Bird photography, Birds - Oklahoma, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Oklahoma, Video, Wichita Mountains NWR, Wildlife) (, , )

Fort Sill Army post and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge share the same habitat and the same wildlife. These birds in the video were at Fort Sill’s Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area, which borders the refuge.

The refuge also has a herd of purebred Texas longhorn cattle, which sometimes use the road to get from one grazing area to another, to the delight of visitors. Although they aren’t “wildlife” they are very popular, and simply the most beautiful and unique cattle around.

Several prairie dog towns allow easy viewing of the native black-tailed prairie dogs. Their pups were out by April, grazing on grasses and seeds, and their tails tend to show the black tips more than their parents tails do.

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

Join my Facebook Page

Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

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