Saturday, April 25, 2015

National Bison Range

Our last stop before arriving at Farragut State Park is Missoula, Montana. We found that the National Bison Range is nearby, and decided to give it a look.

This 19,000 acre range consists of rolling grasslands surrounded by mountains. The views were amazing.
An interesting exhibit near the entry station was this large pile of elk antlers. We didn't see any elk on our visit, but they must have plenty to accumulate all of these antlers.
Whole Lotta' Elk Antlers
We drove the auto tour road. They don't allow hiking, bike riding, or even getting out of your vehicle while on the range, due to the free-ranging Bison.

The most common sound we heard was Western Meadowlarks singing. They were everywhere!
Western Meadowlark
We also saw Mountain Bluebirds and Tree Swallows claiming various houses along the fenceline.
Tree Swallow
Mountain Bluebird
The Bison themselves were pretty spread out. We saw a few small groups here and there. All of them looked shaggy, as they were losing their thick winter coats.
American Bison
I saw more Pronghorns than Bison. This one was busy scratching a spot on the ground and then "marking" it.
Pronghorn
We saw a pair of Coyote way up on a hillside.
Coyotes
And this bachelor group of Mule Deer were crossing the creek. Each of them had the start on the new season's antlers.

Mule Deer
We also saw a grassland bird that we'd never seen before. 
Gray Partridge
We'll arrive at our summer home tomorrow. After 3200 miles we are looking forward to getting off of the road for a while.

Mark

2 comments:

  1. Oh, a Gray Partridge would be nice. That is one place we have thought about volunteering at...I hear there are a lot of volunteers there though!!!

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  2. 3200 miles sure is a long way to go.

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