Monday, July 6, 2009

Gratitude Monday --Bison Camping Edition

This past weekend was our annual camping trip with our friends. We went to Elk Island National Park which contains a herd of buffalo.
This park is east of Edmonton about a half -hour drive, if that. This is the second time I've been to it and the first in summer.
We spent a great deal of time on Astotin Lake. We saw a wide variety of bird life from sandpipers to pelicans.
At one point during a paddle we saw a heron. Behind him, a buffalo.

Later that day Mike and I drove around the park and checked out the bison loop. No bison were about, but as we drove back to the campground it started pouring rain and two of them were out enjoying the shower. Here's a wet buffalo:

We came home on Sunday and were treated to this sight along the road. Here's a dry buffalo:

And here's a field full of them. They were across the road from the bison loop.

I am so happy to have finally spent some time in the park and to finally see some wild buffalo roaming.


Crabby McSlacker said...

Great photos!

Though when I first saw the post title I was expecting a group of Bison pitching tents or sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows.

Or maybe for their camping vacations, bison head out of the parks and into the cities?

the Bag Lady said...

Terrific pictures, cousin! Love the wet buffalo - he looks just a little pissed off!
And the pelican is wonderful!

Crabby's comment cracked me up! The buffalo make their way into the cities for a little shopping and night life for their vacations!

Leah J. Utas said...

Crabby, thanks. Love the image of big, shaggy bison folk sitting around the campfire toasting mashmallows. I think you and df Bag Lady are right. Bison go to cities on vacation. I'm sure that's how Buffalo, NY got its name!

dfBag Lady, thanks. It was fun getting the pics. I thought the wet guy looked awfully annoyed, too.

Barbara Martin said...

It's been many years since I've visited Elk Island Park, but the memories remain. Like the time my Great Uncle Bob came with us in 1957 and I had pink sugar floss to eat.

Do they still have the Wood Bison in the southern portion of the Park? Those are the bison whose horns stick about their wooly heads, their coats are a darker colour and they're bigger than the Plains Bison. The Wood Bison they have are considered genetically pure.

From your photos, you got terrific shots!

Hilary said...

Fantastic photos of wonderful creatures. I can imagine how thrilled to see them.

I think you are correct about the origin of Buffalo, NY.... didn't they recently celebrate their bisontennial? ;)

bunnygirl said...

OMG, it would be worth such a long trip (from where I live) to see buffalo like that! I've seen beefalo (cow/buffalo hybrid), but never the real thing.

Leah J. Utas said...

Barbara, it seems to me they are the Wood Bison. I'm too tired to confirm that right now. Our fellow campers, I think, said it was Wood Bison. What a lovely candy floss memory.

Hilary, "bisontennial." Good one! Thanks for the kind words re:pics. it's wonderful to see native creatures in the wild.

Bunnygirl, yes. It would totally be worth it. You can come up and stay with me and I'll take you the rest of the way to the park. Bring Cadbury. I think he'd enjoy the trip.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

df Leah,

"Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam . . ."

Thanks for showing these to us.

I am grateful that the buffalo herds are replenishing and protected.


Leah J. Utas said...

dfTerrie, you are welcome. I'm grateful the buffalo have a place to roam.

David Cranmer said...

The eyes on that wet buffalo are eerie... and beautiful. But all the shots are superb.

Reb said...

I love Elk Island. Great shots and David is right about the eerie eyes on the wet one.

Yes, I think there are still Wood Buffalo in the park. I know that a lot were shipped to Wood Buffalo Park up north and they are pure stock up there.

Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

Leah J. Utas said...

David, thanks so much. That fellow looks like he's taking exception to my presence something fierce.

Reb, thanks for the info on the variety and for the kindness toward my photos. I was fairly sure they're wood. Good to know you're backing me.

Nancy said...

What an amazing sight. I still want to see a moose. We spent two weeks in Canada last fall - and unfortunately did not see any wildlife! Came back to the US through Montana and still no wildlife!

But a bear loped through my backyard last week. Had to come home to see wildlife. Go figure.

carla said...



I need to bring the Toddler to the wild before she thinks all animals are as seen in ICE AGE and ICE AGE 2.

Leah J. Utas said...

Nancy, I hope you get to see your moose. Come to Canada more often.
A bear in the back yard? That's a bit too exciting. But as long as no none got in his (or her) way then it's usually not a problem.

Yes, Carla. Seeing wild animals in the wild is stunning. I hope the Toddler gets a chance to see them where they live instead of on a screen.