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Borrego Springs, CA

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ta-Tonka!

Today was a day of invasive species.  Bridget and I headed out early to search the trails for purple loosestrife.  We didn’t find any loosestrife on Ogemash Trail, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t see anything.

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We saw a lot of deer flies up close and personal, and this broad-winged hawk skulking through the forest.  Most birds are going through an annual molt at this time of the year to renew all of their worn feathers.  This one’s head looked like it had a bad haircut. 

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After getting off of the trail and heading east on county road 143, we found the culprit we were looking for… purple loosestrife.  It’s not too prevalent on the refuge yet, so we documented its exact location so it could be eliminated.

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Then it was time to check out Egg Lake Trail.  Again, we found no loosestrife.  That’s a good thing.  We did find one of my favorite wildflowers though.  Jewel Weed has a gorgeous orange and yellow blossom that just makes you think that hummingbirds would love it.  What I like best about it is its seed pods.  Once the blooms are done, a seed pod emerges that looks like a miniature pea pod.  If you touch one of those pods, the pod explodes and blasts its seeds into the air.  Very cool!  It’s a little too early for pods, but I’ll be watching for them.

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Last week as we were coming off of the Chippewa Trail, a man came up to the truck and asked me if I’d seen any buffalo.  I thought he was joking or a little nuts, but it turned out he owns land bordering the refuge and raises bison.  He told me a couple of them got loose, and he thought they may have gone onto the refuge.  They’ve been wandering around for a week now, and there are more than just a couple of them.

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As we made out way down the River Road Trail, we were stopped by a bison jam.  It made me think maybe I was in Yellowstone or Theodore Roosevelt Nat’l Park, but certainly not in Minnesota.  All I could think of was the movie “Dances with Wolves”.  Ta-Tonka  Ta-Tonka!!  The owner and the Federal Wildlife Officer were there trying to get them to cross a bridge over the Otter Tail River.  As you can see, the bison thought better of that idea, and made a hasty retreat.  They aren’t exactly docile cows that you can lead to where you want them to go.

The attempt to get them off of the refuge was unsuccessful today, and they’ll try again tomorrow.  Bison certainly weren’t on our list of ‘exotic species’ that we thought we’d see today.  You just never know.  I hope the bison go where they’re supposed to tomorrow.  Otherwise, the outcome may not be very pleasant.

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                                                                               THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

20 comments:

  1. Good grief - loose Bison on the refuge. Hmmmm, the owner doesn't check his fences very often if he lost what looks like a lot of his herd. Good luck to whoever has to deal with that. Love your jewel weed pictures. I don't suppose you have any idea why a post I put up 3 hours ago is still not showing on blog rolls including yours I notice.

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  2. Wow! Undocumented Bison sneaking across the border! :cD

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  3. I hope those bison are trampling any bird nests. Oh wait, is it too late for nests? Not to mention all the damage those huge beasts do to every place they walk or run.

    Hmmm, molting. I wonder if that's why one of the male cardinals visiting our feeder has a black head with no crest. It looks really strange!

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  4. Geez, I wonder what a Bison roundup looks like.

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  5. Excitement on the refuge! Looks like more than a couple to me! The sap inside the stem of Jewel weed will take the itch out of Poison Ivy:)

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  6. Holy cow, so to speak! Stampeding Bison is way more exciting than purple loosestrife! Makes me think of Montana.

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  7. I am most interested in how you identified the broad winged hawk. I am completely competent to view from below (as in hawk watching) but am not used to see in them from eye level!

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  8. Must be some kind of buffalo telepathy! For just a few seconds, and before I went too far into your blog yesterday, I wondered if you were talking about my Wyoming cousins' buffalo herd escape! Michael and Kathy Gear live on a ranch and three or so days ago, their buffalo (30+) broke the rugged fence and escaped into the Reservation up there. They had a devil of a time getting them back in before they became a whole lotta lunch for the residents.

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  9. Will they be destroyed if he can't get them off?

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  10. I wonder if we have any Jewel Weed here? I would love to see those exploding seed pods.

    We have a bald headed female cardinal here and she looks so pitiful we thought she might be ill. She's been bald a few weeks now, but seems to have a good appetite. Hope she's okay.

    I don't think I want to know what will happen to the buffalo. Think I'll skip your next post.

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  11. Late to reply... as usual. I love jewel weed, too... and have used it to stop itches. Hope you get that purple loosestrife under control before it goes crazy! Your buffalo herd reminds me of your time in SE Texas during cattle roundup before hurricanes... what "fun" experiences you have!

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  12. A herd of buffalo could be a dangerous thing! I find them amazing, and yes, in Yellowstone they are not uncommon..In Northern Minnesota??? Well, I guess it isn't too far from North Dakota...

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  13. I surely hope I get to see you pop a jewel weed pod before you leave there. . .that sounds very interesting!

    Your bison pics are great. . .will be very interested to know what you have to say about how the entire situation unfolds.

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  14. Great shots, as usual. Who knew bison would be up there?! Got to say you have the most interesting job.

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  15. Maybe the bison can stomp out the loosestrife. Both can be a nuisance.

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  16. Bison in Minnesota! Who knew! That purple loosestrife looks awfully familiar!

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  17. Hmm, not something you see everyday in MN.

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  18. Nice post.Thanks for sharing this in your blog

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