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Watching for Wildlife

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I'm not used to seeing landforms like this. A speeding car-window shot of the Theodore Roosevelt South Unit near Medora, North Dakota.
But much of the fun of travel is readjusting one's view of the land, accepting new life forms and landforms as part of the view. I never tire of it. Well, I do get tired of soybeans and corn, but I don't get tired of what nature put there. Don't miss the purple flowers in the vale. Unfortunately, a binocular view made them look suspiciously like dame's rocket, a Eurasian mustard often included in "wildflower" seed mixes. Ah well. They were lovely. I leave open the possibility that they're some gorgeous native that looks like dame's rocket, and hope to be corrected. Such a pool of shadow violet they made, incredible.

Wild prairie flax, Linum lewisi. Named for Meriwether? I'd imagine.

Perched up on a rock, we scanned for wildlife. Bill has the tripod splayed out to Hotdog Brother height.

The rock was inhabited by lovely bunches.

We found the first-ever elk Phoebe, Liam and I had laid eyes on (Bill had seen them before, but he was so excited to show them to us!) What a fine, fine sight, even if distant. We watched them for over an hour as they grazed and milled about. See the little calf?

A male lazuli bunting knocked our eyes out. His song, reminiscent of our indigo bunting. Could we switch, just for a summer? I'd like to put this one on the Indigo Hill species list. For me, the color scheme is a play on that of the eastern bluebird's. I love lazuli buntings, and I get all excited and jump around a lot, flapping my hands, when I see them.

But there was still more. There are wild horses in the park!

Of course, they need a post or two of their very own.

Until tomorrow,Li'l JZ and Big BT3, reporting from North Dakota, in a sundrenched June timewarp. Just the thing for dreary December, especially now that the sky's gone gray, and the nights are so cold.


Love this post! We had a wonderful time at this park many years ago and I'd love to go back. The wildlife and wildflowers were spectacular, as was the scenery. We also had a wild rainstorm which added to the excitement! Thanks for bringing back some rich memories!

There's something extraterrestrial about landforms like that. I found what I saw of New Mexico to be like that. Where's the Mars Rover? And what's with the 360 degree sunsets?

And...ummm...could you maybe send the Lazuli Bunting that's headed to your house about 400 miles east when you're done with it? It'd make a nice addition to the yard list. Lotsa cool western & central birds are doin' (or have done) it: Bullock's Oriole, Rufous Hummingbird, probable Brewer's Blackbird. Come, join usssssssss!

Every other summer of my childhood, we went to North Dakota for vacation. That's odd right there, but I loved it.

Wow, how incredible! I've been yearning to see the Dakotas and Montana for years, so it's nice to live vicariously through your gorgeous pictures. Those wild horses just make you ache with yearning, right? (By the way, great candid capture of the roan on the right..erm, communing with nature :)

Oh, those rocks...beautiful.

what's a beauty

Yup, the flax was indeed "discovered" by the Lewis & Clark Expedition and named for Capt. Meriwether Lewis (discovered in parenthesis because the native peoples already knew about it of course). One of the two L&C flax specimens that still exists just happened to be collected near Great Falls, MT along the Sun River. (Were you on the Sun River this summer?). It is a beautiful flower.

I've been a little tied up recently in my supportive spouse role through comp exams, dissertation research, and now eye surgery, so haven't had a chance to say I'm so glad Chet is okay!!! Yikes that was a scary episode!

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