Sunday, March 02, 2014

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

After descending from Mount Scott, we headed west through the wildlife refuge to see if we could find any Chestnut-collared Longspurs. One place that people had been reporting them was at or near the prairie dog town near the junction for the Holy City. It had not occurred to me how interested Laney would be in prairie dogs. She was good, but very alert.

The prairie dogs were aware of Laney, too. They scolded her from their burrows. I am sure she heard taunts. I did not find any longspurs. Maybe I needed to walk through the grass and try to flush them, but that wouldn't have been an option with Laney.

A view of Mount Scott, looking east.

The wildlife refuge had free-range Texas Longhorns. This guy was sitting in a pretty setting near the road. They also have bison and elk at the park. I saw some bison from a distance, but no elk. This park played an important role in the preservation of bison. The park used to have a subspecies of elk called Merriam's Elk that ranged across the southwest. That subspecies is now extinct, and the Rocky Mountain subspecies has been re-introduced.

I did get a nice look at a Greater Roadrunner along the road as I was heading out. Not a bad consolation prize for the Chestnut-collared Longspurs and all of the other birds left behind for another day.

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