These lovely and friendly wild (sort of, anyway) burros or donkeys and the tiny Prairie Dogs were spotted last month at the beautiful Custer State Park in South Dakota near Mount Rushmore. These are the last of my series of photographs from my visit to the park this Summer.
I spotted the animals along the side of the road and in a great big pasture on the Wildlife Loop road. The burro’s come to the roadway to beg (successfully) for carrots or apples from the park’s visitors. They seem very tame but one must remember they are still wild animals! So neat to also see many Prairie Dogs chirping their warning when we walked a short way into the fields. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of each picture. Enjoy!
I have just returned from a family vacation to South Dakota. A highlight of the adventure was a visit to the ever-so-lovely Custer State Park in the Mount Rushmore area of the state.
This state park is chock-full of large wild animals. Yes, the enormous pastures where the buffalo (American Bison) roam are fenced but the animals really do run freely in the grasslands. A road for tourists to drive through the area is the best way to see the bison, pronghorn, deer, prairie dogs, and the friendly wild donkeys that call the park home.
I have been to this park three times now and enjoy it quite a lot! I want to wish everyone a happy Independence Day tomorrow (July 4th). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of each picture. Enjoy!
This Grizzly Bear is a three-year old sow that was walking close to the road through a lot of dead trees. We spotted this bear while on a morning photo safari tour offered through the official park concessioner in Yellowstone National Park.
This younger sow (female) was known by the photography guide, Doug. Doug was a seasoned veteran of many years of photographing Yellowstone’s wildlife and had also been familiar with this bear’s own mother.
I was quite happy to have seen this bear close up but far enough away to be safe and not disturb the bear. I took these pictures on June 15, 2014. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Wild Burros or wild Donkeys which are descendants of miner’s pack animals from the 19th and early 20th Centuries, were happily occupying the roadway at the beautiful and really special Custer State Park in South Dakota. These animals seem to love visiting with the tourists (I think many people have fed them – but not me)!
The Burros cause safe but sometimes lengthy traffic jams when they congregate on the road itself. Sometimes I saw about eight Burro’s on the road or next to it. Some are quite young. They are cute and pretty safe – but do not depend on these animals being “tame”. I took these pictures on June 9, 2014, and again on June 11, 2014 in Custer State Park along the “Wildlife Loop Road”. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
These Pronghorns were spotted in the gorgeous Custer State Park, a South Dakota state park near Custer, S. Dakota. We drove along the “Wildlife Loop Road” in the large park. These deer or elk-like herd animals are not antelope as many people have referred to them as. There were several small groups of the handsome large Pronghorn roaming free (this is not a zoo), along the road and off in the distance. These are grazing animals that eat grass and grains. The males have a distinctive set of “Pronged” horns , which in my mind, resemble a cross between antlers and horns.
I took these pictures on June 11, 2014 in the park. I also later saw several Pronghorn in Yellowstone National Park the next week. There additionally were many sightings along the highways in South Dakota and in Wyoming. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. By the way, in the next few blog series, I will be highlighting various wildlife seen while I was out West in South Dakota and Wyoming. I hope you will enjoy seeing the photographs I took.
This young Grey Squirrel has made an appearance in my yard recently. It is hunting for Acorns and Hickory Nuts to add to its Fall larder. The Grey Squirrels here mostly live in the woods along the street in front of my little place here. There is a fringe of mixed hard woods and Pines along the road. The squirrels and occasionally the chipmunks will come across the open fields to grab tasty Acorns and nuts (Birdseed too don’t forget). The Grey Squirrels are not terribly numerous here in this neighborhood. I enjoy seeing them once in a while which is exactly what is currently the case. I took these pictures in my yard yesterday, Oct. 18, 2012. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
We were driving down the street about a half-block from our driveway when out trotted three White-tailed does. The does are the female deer. It is now deer season for hunting here in this county so I am sure that the deer are happy that they were on a street and in a neighborhood where hunting is not allowed (nearby areas do have hunting on private land). The deer here have lots of places to hide in thickets and woods. These does were so pretty! This is the second time I have seen deer close to our new home. In fact, when we were looking at the place before buying it, we were told that the reason why the top rail in two small areas of the wood fence were down, was due to deer jumping over the fence to get to the garden. So, I am sure we will need to additionally fence our garden plot next Spring. I took these pictures from inside the car on Dec. 13, 2011. The shots are hazy since I had to take the pictures through the closed windows and did so in a big hurry. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Recently, I had an amazing opportunity to visit several National Parks and State Parks in the Great Plains. During the trip I took a number of pictures of Bison. There were large numbers of Buffalo in the Custer State Park in South Dakota and also in the Yellowstone National Park in the Hayden Valley area. I was so amazed that the buffalo seemed to just enjoy walking along the highway on the pavement among the cars! Of course, the big animals do have the right-of-way in the park areas. The buffalo often tie up traffic as they stand or walk along roads in the parks. The Rangers in Yellowstone’s Hayden Valley area actually encourage the Bison to move off the road by using recorded grunts that are played out of the windows of the Ranger’s cars!
I also was totally shocked to find that a small group of about forty or so of the buffalo were trotting through the Fishing Bridge Trailer Park campground in Yellowstone National Park early one evening at twilight. This appearance of buffalo in the campground is highly unusual. I heard the Bison before I poked my head out of my trailer and had a look. I was amazed to see the herd trotting along both the last small roadway in the campground (about 10 feet behind my trailer) and in the forest at the edge of the campground. During the trip I also got to see Bison fording or crossing the Yellowstone River. That was really interesting to see. The very young bulls also were testing each other and play-fighting by butting heads.
So I managed to get to see a lot of big buffalo in a safe and enjoyable way. I took these pictures between Sept. 3-10, 2011 in Custer State Park and in Yellowstone National Park. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
I was out late yesterday afternoon and snapped a few pictures os a White-tailed Deer that was happily grazing in the taller grass at the side of one of our community’s nice outlying roads. Deer are plentiful here in many neighborhoods. This statement is especially true in areas close to golf course fairways. We also have a lot of undeveloped and lightly developed areas where the deer are free to roam without bothering gardens and landscaping. I saw a single deer in four different places, but only got fair photographs of this one animal. I was taking pictures from the car and the light was fading. White-tailed Deer eat grass, leaves, fruits and tender stems of plants. The fact that they love grass is a major reason why so many deer are around golf links. I also have seen deer browsing on people’s lawns some six feet from the houses! That scene does not happen often as deer mostly like being with their own and stay away from people. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!