Kip’s Comments 2-8 and 2-9-19

Bull Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 544801 (© Kip Ladage)

 

My Truck Took A Licking

After seeing pictures shared of the short-eared owls at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge this winter, I visited again this weekend. To visit the refuge is a couple of hours of driving and then to find something to photograph in the thousands of acres of prairie is not always assured. This trip though, was like none other.     

First I found several groups of elk roaming the 5,600-acre prairie. My first photo shoot featured the females (cow) elk. Since they were so close to my truck, I was able to make many photographs. 

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 544924 (© Kip Ladage)

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 544924 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 544925 (© Kip Ladage)

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 544925 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 544976 (© Kip Ladage)

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 544976 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 545009 (© Kip Ladage)

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 545009 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 545069 (© Kip Ladage)

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 545069 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 545070 (© Kip Ladage)

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 545070 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 545081 (© Kip Ladage)

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 545081 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 545085 (© Kip Ladage)

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 545085 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 545131 (© Kip Ladage)

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 545131 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 545186 (© Kip Ladage)

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 545186 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 545192 (© Kip Ladage)

Cow Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 545192 (© Kip Ladage)

   

A bit further away I found the bull elk. Many more images were recorded of these impressive animals. 

Bull Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 544721 (© Kip Ladage)

Bull Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 544721 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Bull Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 544725 (© Kip Ladage)

Bull Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 544725 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Bull Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 544760 (© Kip Ladage)

Bull Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 544760 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Bull Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 544782 (© Kip Ladage)

Bull Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 544782 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Bull Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 544801 (© Kip Ladage)

Bull Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 544801 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Bull Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 544805 (© Kip Ladage)

Bull Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 544805 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Bull Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 544832 (© Kip Ladage)

Bull Elk at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 544832 (© Kip Ladage)

     

As I progressed through the prairie on the vehicle route, I then came upon a couple dozen American bison near the road. I had read about the large, lumbering animals licking the road salt off of cars and trucks, but was not expecting it to happen to me. Suddenly I was surrounded by sniffing, snorting, grunting, and licking bison that were cleaning (sort of) my truck with their tongues. I am hopeful their horns did not scratch the truck. I will not know until it warms up enough that I can really wash the truck and look it over. Fortunately I was able to keep our two dogs in the truck quiet to not startle the big animals. It was quite the experience! 

American Bison at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 544534 (© Kip Ladage)

American Bison at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 544534 (© Kip Ladage)

 

American Bison at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 544557 (© Kip Ladage)

American Bison at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 544557 (© Kip Ladage)

 

American Bison at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 544570 (© Kip Ladage)

American Bison at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 544570 (© Kip Ladage)

 

American Bison Licking Salt Off Vehicle at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 544580 (© Kip Ladage)

American Bison Licking Salt Off Vehicle at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 544580 (© Kip Ladage)

 

American Bison Licking Salt Off Vehicle at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 544635 (© Kip Ladage)

American Bison Licking Salt Off Vehicle at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 544635 (© Kip Ladage)

 

American Bison Licking Salt Off Vehicle at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 544672 (© Kip Ladage)

American Bison Licking Salt Off Vehicle at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 544672 (© Kip Ladage)

 

American Bison Tongue Marks on Truck - Image 545310 (© Kip Ladage)

American Bison Tongue Marks on Truck – Image 545310 (© Kip Ladage)

 

American Bison Tongue Marks on Truck - Image 5453170 (© Kip Ladage)

American Bison Tongue Marks on Truck – Image 5453170 (© Kip Ladage)

   

Finally, as I was leaving the refuge in near total darkness, I spotted two of the short-eared owls I was looking for. I was able to photograph only one of the owls and the image is not much more than a specimen shot to show I found them.

Short-eared Owl on Stop Sign at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 545298 (© Kip Ladage)

Short-eared Owl on Stop Sign at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 545298 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Short-eared Owl on Stop Sign at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge - Image 545306 (© Kip Ladage)

Short-eared Owl on Stop Sign at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge – Image 545306 (© Kip Ladage)

 

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