Posts tagged “American Bison

Antelope Island at Sunrise – Part Second

…continued.

There was simply too much to see, too many sights that demanded attention, contemplation, worship…and photographs.

My kids who still live in Salt Lake City had told me about the record snowfall for the past winter and spring; I had also read about it on one of the social media sites from the area that I follow.

I guess I expected that some of the earlier season’s snowmelt would have made it to The Great Salt Lake and would have raised the water level a bit…would have raised it “any” amount, actually.

Western Spotted Orb Weaver spider on Antelope Island

There was water, of course, mostly north of the causeway from my vantage point, enough to provide those morning reflections that are inspiring in and of themselves…

…and enough, too, to afford the many waterfowl a place to forage, play, rest, and provide still other morning reflections that cause occasional human observers to stop along their various ways to attend, contemplate, worship…and photograph.

Also striking were the morning’s colors…the peachy orangish pink of the waking sky, shining of themselves above, and in the myriad reflections below…

…the black, dark purple, blue and gray of the lake’s living water…

…and the sage, green, rust, and straw colors of the waterside vegetation.

Cast all of those, too, among the brightening gold and greens of the covered hillsides and coves…

…the yellow faces and bonnets of the solitary individuals and masses of sunflowers…

…and finally the rich blacks and browns of the wandering bison.

It was a feast for my desert dwelling eyes.

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Antelope Island in September, too….

I was surprised at how low The Great Salt Lake was during this visit…as it was significantly higher in February when when we made our first trip to the island.

Hmm…no, my son’s not dancing, there on the left…maybe celebrating because of a well-thrown skipping-stone….

Looks like a little island of reeds out there…and the water is a long way away….

One of the 500-600 American Bison, or Buffalo, that live on the island….

My little one brought his binoculars and a notepad and pen along for the trip…it was fun watching him take notes of his observations….

Small group of Pronghorn Antelope…the male has the larger horns and the black, cheek markings….

Whole bunch of Sunflowers….

Daughter carrying her pre-Christmas baby….

Hopefully we’ll have some wonderful snow this winter…and green, rolling hills out on the island in the spring….


Field Trip to Antelope Island

It’s always pleasing when a recommendation (direct or otherwise) from a friend results in a rewarding experience.  About two weeks ago, Fergiemoto commented on my Salt Lake City Seagull post and mentioned that you can see LOTS of sea-gulls on the causeway that leads from the mainland to Antelope Island out in the Great Salt Lake.  As I have lived in the Salt Lake area for just over a year and had not yet ventured out to visit the lake up-close and personal, let alone traveled the 40 miles north of the city to visit Antelope Island, it seemed like a good time to do so.  It was a rather chilly and windy February morning and afternoon, and while there were plenty of birds flying about and resting in the lake’s water, I have to admit that I didn’t take particular notice of the gulls…there were too many other things that captured my attention and begged for me to stop the truck and take their pictures.  Anyway…thank you, Fergiemoto, for your recommendation.  It was a wonderful day-adventure.  🙂

Antelope Island is about 15 miles long and 4.5 miles wide and is the largest of the six or eight or more islands that exist in the Great Salt Lake.  This photo was taken on the road that lies on the eastern side of the island and leads out to a farm/ranch near the north end of the island that was originally established in the late 1800’s.  Even though the island is smack-dab in the middle of a lake that has greater salinity than the oceans, there are more than 40 fresh-water springs on this eastern side of the island that serve as water sources for the natural and imported wild-life.   Aside from the prong-horn antelope, from which the island gets its name, there is also a herd of more than 600 imported buffalo, or American Bison, that roam freely over the island.  There are also long-horned sheep, mule-deer, bob-cats, coyotes, and many ducks, gulls, other water-birds, and raptors.  The state-park literature also reports that Bald-Eagles frequent the island during their seasonal migrations.

We didn’t spot this antelope until we were actually leaving the island.  As I got out of the truck to take the photos, I heard him making some barking-type sound…almost like he was calling to his friends to come back.  A cyclist who had also stopped to look at the antelope and listen to his calls said that this particular antelope was a male, as only males have the black cheek markings and a bit of a mane that runs down the middle of the neck.

I think it’s remarkable that we could be on an island in the middle of the Great Salt Lake and see buffalo resting in the tall and winter-dried grasses.

The boys were eager to get out of the truck and climb the rocks…having fun with their own little adventures and seemingly mindless of the chilling wind.  There was a bit of haze on the lake…maybe an inversion layer of vehicle particle emissions…or salt dust carried in with the winds from the desert south and west of the lake.  Those are the Wasatch Mountains in the background.

I’ve seen these deer in the mountains of Colorado and in the mountains and canyons of Utah and Arizona…but on an island in the middle of the Great Salt Lake?  Yep…

When I mentioned in my earlier post, Mass and Form, about trying to get a good profile shot of the bison/buffalo, this is the closest and best that I could get.  He kept moving in circles away from me….

Everyone had a nice time driving and walking about the island…even my 3yo grand-daughter.  This last photo was taken near the farm/ranch on the north end of the island.  You can see that the winter grass has been mown beyond the fence.


Mass and Form

I don’t mind that the buffalo/bison kept turning away from me as I kept trying to sidle along with him to get a good profile picture.  The resulting photo of his large, hulking body standing there among the delicate, winter-dried flower stems with the Wasatch Mountains towering in the background is still appealing to me.