Grazing bull- Nikon D200, handheld, f9, 1/320, ISO 250, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 130mm, natural light
The American Bison on Antelope Island are starting to show signs of shedding their winter coats and for awhile they will look a bit ratty. In this image you can see a couple of patches where the winter coat has been shed, directly behind the Bison’s right front leg, in front of the right back leg and its hindquarters.
Scratching Bison bull- Nikon D200, handheld, f9, 1/640, ISO 250, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 200mm, natural light
The Bison do a whole lot of scratching while they shed, on the ground, against the huge boulders that dot the island and if they can they rub against some of the signs. It must feel good to eventually get the loosened winter coat completely off.
Bison bull rubbing its belly on the ground- Nikon D200, handheld, f9, 1/750, ISO 250, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 130mm, natural light
This bull rocked back and forth against the ground in this position for over a minute, I am still not sure what it was doing.
Bison bull standing up- Nikon D200, handheld, f9, 1/640, ISO 250, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 135mm, natural light
Afterwards the bull stood up and started to graze. It is lovely to see the grassy slopes of the island turning green, to see the silvery green new growth on the Sagebrush and feel the warmth of the sun on my own skin.
These images were taken two days ago, yesterday I woke to a very light snow on the ground and there may be snow flurries today. Crazy weather is normal for spring in Utah.
Bison Bull on Antelope Island
This Bison bull weighs in at about 1,500 pounds, he is wild and you don’t want to tick him off like one man did on Antelope Island last weekend. These behemoths can move fast when they need to which is why when they are running you can hear their thunderous hooves. They aren’t domesticated cows and they aren’t tame.
I’m on Antelope Island a lot and I’ve seen incidents where I thought someone might get trampled a few times. Once it was some women that walked within 20 to 25 feet of grazing Bison. I was very glad the Bison didn’t charge them. Later that same day from a long distance away I saw a man walk too close to a bull and the Bison made a mock charge at him. I was glad the guy didn’t end up flattened like a pancake. Last fall I saw a guy in red pants, his bicycle laying down on the shoulder of the road walk up to it with a tiny point and shoot camera and the Bison charged him but stopped, the guy didn’t even have a vehicle to jump into for protection. That wasn’t smart because before he could have gotten on that bike the Bison would have run over him. Believe it or not the guy walked closer one more time to get more images.
Last weekend a guy from Colorado got too close to a Bison bull and in return the bull slammed him into a chain link fence. You can read about it here: Man walks away from bison attack unharmed
There was a photographer taking pictures of the bull and the man and his image in the article shows the man being slammed into the fence and stated that the man might have provoked the Bison along with other witnesses.
The guy is lucky that he isn’t dead. The article said he was embarrassed.
He ought to be. You don’t tick off a wild Bison dude.
KSL.com interviewed the “A Bison Slammed Me into a Fence” guy and he claimed he was trying to protect some runners in Antelope Island Buffalo Run. You can read what he said here: Man pinned by bison says he worried for racers’ safety
I’m glad the guy is alive.
But I think he should have been cited for harassing that Bison.
More Bison images
Bison grazing in the snow
I wanted to share a few images taken two days ago when Antelope Island was covered with a fresh snow fall. The entire island looked glorious and the sunlight caused the snow to sparkle much to my delight. The American Bison were pushing their noses into the snow to clear the way to find grass to graze on.
Plump Chukar in the snow
A covey of Chukars were looking for food in under the heavy blanket of snow. Their beautiful colors, red legs and plumage patterns stand out sharply from the pristine snow.
Antelope Island snow
This image was taken just south of the road to the Frary Peak trail head, it can be hard to believe that the Great Salt Lake comes up to where the rusty colored Phragmites are at times, especially during spring melt.
Farmington complex rocks under fresh snow
I’ve had a great deal of fun photographing raptors this year in this area where Farmington complex rocks jut out from the hills. These are the oldest rock formations on the island and are also older than the rocks found at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
Ole Scarface hunting in snow
This Coyote has many scars on its face most likely from territorial disputes during mating season. The Coyote looks old and one of its ears is very floppy. It also still has snow on its back which probably fell on it during the night.
Promontory Mountains from Antelope Island
I love that while I am on the island I can turn in all directions and see mountains, it delights me to see them covered in snow and shining brightly in the sun. On a relatively clear day the Great Salt Lake is a delicious dark blue.
Western Meadowlark on snow-covered Sagebrush
This Western Meadowlark perched on a snow-topped Sagebrush was very cooperative and posed for a long time before it flew away. It wasn’t singing but the bird reminded me that before too long they will have a period of time when it seems they simply can not resist singing their little hearts out during breeding season.
View of snow-covered Promontory Point from Egg Island Overlook
Egg Island Overlook is the northern most point on the island and has expansive views of the Great Salt Lake, the Promontory Mountains and the wide open sky.
Juvenile White-crowned Sparrows
Near the marina these juvenile White-crowned Sparrows perched on a snow laden bush with the Great Salt Lake in the background.
I’ve often said that “Some Days are Magic” here on my blog and this day sure felt that way to me. But then, every day in nature fills me with wonder and joy.
Bison in front of the Wasatch Range – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 242mm, natural light
When I saw this Bison grazing on a hill with the Great salt Lake and the Wasatch Mountain Range in the background I knew I had to get an image of it and I did… just this one image because a vehicle was coming up behind us and we needed to clear the road so we wouldn’t be impeding traffic. I didn’t have time to change my settings or check my exposure but the image turned out well.
I’m pleased with this Bison image because it contains so many icons of the western U.S., the Bison grazing on prairie grasses, the Great Salt Lake and a mountain range in the background.
We’ve gotten a lot of snow in the Salt Lake Valley since Friday, I swept at least a foot of snow off my vehicle yesterday and about 3 to 4 inches on Friday, as I write this the snow is still falling.
We went out to Antelope Island yesterday despite the gray skies, low light and the falling snow and while most of the birds and animals were hunkered down, the Bison were not.
Bison fighting in a snow storm – Nikon D200, handheld, f5.6, 1/250, ISO 400, +1.7 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 70mm, natural light
Early in the morning the snow fall was heavy and the light was a challenge. In the image above even though I had used +1.7 exposure compensation I still had to lighten the darks some in post processing to show fine details.
As I photographed two Bison that were grazing close together they began to fight, with the snow coming down hard it was difficult to get images where the eyes of both Bison showed. These two fought for about a minute then separated and grazed some more.
Bison on a snowy day – Nikon D200, handheld, f5.6, 1/640, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 200mm, natural light
Later on when the snow was coming down lighter I was able to get images that showed the nice detail of the snow-covered Bison fur.
Bison in the snow – Nikon D200, handheld, f5.6, 1/640, ISO 400, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 95mm, natural light
This Bison walked past with the Great Salt Lake in the background. The snow on his face is there because he had been pushing his nose through the snow to get to the grass below it.
Bison bull on a snowy winter day – Nikon D200, handheld, f5.6, 1/640, ISO 400, +1.0, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 65mm, natural light
I love seeing the Bison in the snow.
Antelope Island sure looks beautiful right now.
PS: It snowed a couple more inches overnight!