Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Animals on Antelope Island

Antelope Island was named by French trappers who were the first to record the place. They saw several pronghorn antelope living there and we came upon several individuals, who kept their distance from our car.

I think they are such striking animals with their beautiful markings. I always think I should be on the plains of Africa when I see them.

We also saw whitetail deer.

Sometime in the 1800s, a small herd of bison was brought to the island. They have continued and expanded so that most years, the herd is culled to reduce the numbers. We saw about a dozen at different places on the island. We assumed without knowing for sure that they were shedding their warm winter coats. 

The island is known for the birds that stop over on migrations. It was not spring or fall, but we saw some interesting ones anyway. 

I am not really sure what this bird was. I think it is perhaps some kind of thrush.

Western Meadowlarks sang along the roadside, but for all their loud voice, they were somewhat shy.

Below is a long-billed curlew. That was a new one for my life list. They are sometimes seen along the Florida coasts in winter but they nest and summer on the Great Plains. When they nest, they favor short grass, but may move to taller grass as the babies leave. Both adults incubate the eggs but the male raises the brood after the female abandons the family. However, the couple gets back together and starts a new family the following year.

These shorebirds are quite large and that bill seems to go on forever. It is used to dig out shrimp, worms and crabs.

Several kinds of owls call the island home. We did not see any, but we noticed this and liked to think it was the home of a burrowing owl, that lives there.

B also saw a jack rabbit!

Antelope Island was definitely a highlight of our trip.

No comments: