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Tag Archives: Prairie Dogs

We spent several days driving and hiking in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in late spring. There are some fantastic views of the interior of the park from the Boicourt Overlook.

We stopped at Peaceful Valley Ranch to look around. This is also an access point for many hiking trails. Unfortunately access to the trails requires crossing the Little Missouri River. This year the water was a little high and we noticed only one car in the parking lot. As we were watching this lone female was returning from her hike.

A Panorama of the bend in the Little Missouri River.

 

There was a variety of wildlife in addition to the wild horses. This young Pronghorn was in a valley off of East River Road. We saw several males in another section of the park.

This is one of the better parks to observe to observe Prairie Dogs. The little ones were out in force.

We typically don’t see many Buffalo. The first one was on the trail to the Old East Entrance Station. The second one had an itch and we watched it for about 15 minutes as it rubbed against the hillside.

Lots of interesting rock formations around the park.

 

My wife and I love to drive the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park. We usually see the same cast of characters but every once in a while we are surprised. Buffalo are of course the main attraction. In the spring you have a great opportunity to see the young. For some unknown reason the young seem to like to feed in the middle of the road thus creating a traffic jam. In the spring the bulls are hanging out by themselves or with small groups of bulls.

The second most popular attraction is the Begging Burrows. They can usually be found north of the north roundup viewing area. There were no you burros around but a number of the females looked pregnant.

We were lucky to see a number of Pronghorns but no young. A posting from the park indicated that folks started seeing the young a week after our visit.

We also saw a few deer in the park.

Prairie Dogs are common in the park.

We normally try to drive out past the park airport early in the morning. The light is good and the birds are out and about. This is a great place to see Mountain Bluebirds.

The Mountain Bluebirds have the same problem as the Eastern Bluebirds. Their house is just the right size for the Tree and Barn Swallows. It seemed there were fewer bluebirds this year because the swallows occupied most of the houses.

There were quite a few Meadowlarks around.

This was the first time we saw Upland Sandpipers in the park. We saw them on a couple of occasions. The one on the fence post was with the bluebirds.

 

Red-winged Blackbirds were around.

We stopped at the Blue Bell Lodge for a bite to eat and noticed five Turkey Vultures sitting in the trees around the lodge.

On our recent trip to Theodore Roosevelt National Park we were lucky to see a variety of wildlife.

More photos from Theodore Roosevelt National Park can be found on my website.

Mule Deer

Buffalo

Prairie Dog

Pronghorns

Wild Horses

After photographing early in the morning we headed back to Wall and had an early breakfast at Wall Drug. First place I’ve ever encountered that refused to make sunny side up eggs. While at breakfast we check the map and decided to drive back out to the park and drive the Sage Creek Rim Road. We have been driving through the badlands for years but have never driven the Sage Creek Rim Road¬† other that the first few hundred yards.¬† According to the map we would eventually end up in Hermosa which was our destination.

It was a beautiful early fall day and the color was nearing its peak.

We saw all kinds of wildlife on the drive. We hadn’t gone far before we encountered this Bighorn Sheep ram resting at the side of the road. He wasn’t about to move so we had to drive around him.

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep

As small herd of Pronghorn Antelope crossed the road in front of us.

Pronghorn Antelope

Of course there were the ever present Prairie Dogs. It seems like there are more and more of them.

Prairie Dogs

There are Buffalo in the park but they are rarely seen on the Badlands Loop Road. We see them fairly frequently on the Sage Creek Rim Road. At one point we found a large number of them in a pen. Apparently there had been a roundup but the bulls still seemed to be roaming the park.

Buffalo

We had gotten out of the car to take some landscape photos and noticed this Coyote walking along. I went back to get my long lens and, of course, he dissapeared. I went back and got my landscape lens and sure enough he reappeared in full view but he was too far away for a shot.

Coyote

While we were watching the Prairie Dogs we notice a large bird sitting out in the Prairie Dog town. It looked to be the size of an eagle but we knew it wasn’t an eagle. Later we found out it was a Ferruginous Hawk. Apparently Prairie Dogs are one of its favorite meals. They frequently sit by an active hole and wait for the Prairie Dog to emerge. We later encountered several of them flying.

Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk

After exiting the Sage Creek Rim Road we ended up in Scenic, South Dakota.

We then drove through the Stronghold Unit of the Badlands. This place had been used as a bombing range. When we pulled over to take this photo I also took a photo of the warning sign.

As you can tell by the title I’m a little behind in going through my photos. On the way back from our western trip we decided to drive through Custer State Park. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of wildlife we saw. I had seen coyotes in the park on an earlier visit when I noticed two of them trying to get to a buffalo calf. The adults in the buffalo herd made short work of that effort. On this day we saw two coyotes. This fellow was walking through a prairie dog town.

More photos from Custer State Park can be found on my website.

There were a few buffalo around around. The bulls were off by themselves and the females were off giving birth. The calving season was just starting and we saw less than a dozen calves.

It was early so we weren’t sure if we would see any birds around the airport but they were already starting to nest. There were a number of Meadowlarks around. The Mountain Bluebirds and the Tree Swallows were fighting it out for nesting rights.

Of course there were the Prairie Dogs.

A few Pronghorns could be found at various places in the park.

No visit to South Dakota would be complete without some photos of Prairie Dogs. Many of them had youngsters around. On one mound we saw about a dozen Prairie Dogs. There must have been some kind of meeting taking place.

More Photos from Custer State Park can be found on my website.

Prairie-Dog-14-5-_4328

Prairie-Dog-14-5-_4320

Unfortunately, at one stop we saw a teenager running though the Prairie Dog town screaming. The stupidity of Americans never ceases to amaze me.
One wonders how that family would like it if some nut cast ran through their house screaming?Prairie-Dog-14-5-_4326