Today’s post is all about wildlife in the park. (you know the drill, click on the image to make it larger and more detailed.) As our guide was taking us along the road to one of the geysers, she pulled over quickly and stopped amid a lot of other vehicles. A very large bull elk was resting in the shade of some trees. He was huge. I couldn’t get into the position I wanted to get a full image of him because of the terrain and the fact that our guide cautioned us that if you get too close to them they could charge.
This will give you some idea of the size of this male. He was actually trying to sleep in the shade. I really wanted to get closer but was told again not to put stress on the animal for its safety and my own. I have done a fair amount of wildlife photography and it is never my intent to stress out the wildlife. I had my 600 mm lens on the Nikon D500 body (which is a cropped sensor camera) and that me reach a focal length of 900 mm.
It wasn’t long after we left the bull elk that we came across a herd of bison. Now in my tiny little mind the buffalo and bison were the same thing but our knowledgeable guide explained the difference. She said there are no buffalo in the park only bison. Their shaggy winter coat, their large heads, and hump on their back is much different than the buffalo.
The male bison kicks up some dirt in large quantities by pawing the ground and then lays his 800+ pound body in the dust and rolls in it. You could see these little dust storms all around the herd. While it is not quite mating season yet many of the bulls are trying to attract a mate and this is how they go about it. It is actually quite entertaining to watch the massive creatures rolling around in the dust.
This image is of the same bull after he got up from his dust-storm (on the left) to impress the lady on the right. He was shepherding her away from the rest of the herd and had things on his mind. All the time he was following her he was emitting a loud bellow. He kept his bellowing up all the way up the hill nudging her along the route he wanted her to take.
We didn’t see many of these calves. They are a reddish brown and do not wander too far from their mother. We only saw two in this particular herd.
Meanwhile this guy continued trying to move this female up the hill and away from the rest of the herd. His bellowing was non stop. I don’t know what he was saying but he had something on his mind worth saying a lot. 🙂
The bison eat around sage brush, which is actually poison to them. This guy has a big chunk of sage brush stuck to his horn and you can see some of the remains of his winter coat.
We spent a fair amount of time with this herd and I shot lots of images but many of them looked alike. So I would photograph a while and then just watch the interaction of the bison with each other. It was very enjoyable.
Thank you for stopping by. I hope you are enjoying Yellowstone through my lens. Tomorrow we head out to the Grand Tetons, some of the most majestic mountains in America.
Enjoy your day and be careful.
Hi Dave, Again, amazing. Last time were were in Yellowstone a small heard of Bison stopped traffic on the main road by walking toward us. The alpha bull, while leading the heard past us, walked close enough to my side of the car that I could have rolled down the window and reached out and touched him. I resisted the urge! Thanks for these exceptionally good images. Enjoy the fault block mountains of the Tetons.
Thank you for your kind words Dr. Dale. Later in the week and I’ll write about it we had a close encounter with a male bison. I’m glad you are enjoying the images. Stay safe and be careful.
Nice………..Bullwinkle Moose’s brother from another mother and buffalo butt sniffing……..some of your best work to date! Critters are either stuffed and mounted or not afearin’ of Bubbas!
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