One of the great things about working for The Nature Conservancy is that I get to do a lot of bison watching. Just in the last couple weeks I’ve had several opportunities to get close to bison at our Niobrara Valley Preserve. Even better, I was able to share those experiences with my wife and daughter.
Here is a selection of bison photos from the first half of July…
During a light rain, a young bull pauses in a patch of wildflowers, including golden prairie clover (Dalea aurea) and purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia). The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve.
A different young bull (and a different herd) in a patch of lemon scurfpea (Psoralidium lanceolata).
This quizzical-looking bull is probably a couple years older than those in the previous photos.
This year’s calves are already starting to get darker coats.
Calves didn’t tend to stray too far from their mothers, at least while we were nearby.
One bison had two stick insects on its back and kept trying to shake them off by “shivering” violently.
These two massive bulls seemed to tolerate each other pretty well. That might change later this month as mating season gets underway.
While Kim and I had no trouble finding bison on our visit, my daughter and I tried and failed several times to find bison during our weekend at the Preserve. Finally, as were running out of time and ready to give up and head home, we crested a hill to find about 100 bison spread out in the valley below us.
A valley full of flowers and bison was a pretty great way to cap a trip to the Sandhills.