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Beauty & Buffalo In The Great Plains

Over the past month at the ranch and over the Great Plains prairie's that we have traveled, we have all stated, "Oh my God - it's so beautiful!". I thought I would share some photos with you of the changing landscape over the last three weeks, and transport you to the prairie grasslands. 

Prairie GrasslandsAbove photo of the ranch bottom grounds, taken on October 1st.

It's been my observation over time, that drought years produce a fall spectacle. Fall also has some of the most spectacular sunrises that you just can't make up.

Sunrise over prairie

Although many throughout the country head to the mountains (including the Black Hills) to see the changing of colors, I would argue that the prairie grasslands with their Cottonwood-laced trees along streams and riverbeds are equally as spectacular.

The Cheyenne River

Over each passing day the ocher colors deepen and cure with the cool fall rains coating the blades of grass with a shinny lacquer.  

Buffalo Herd on Prairie

The buffalo graze over the amber grasslands sparsely littered with Cottonwood trees that grow in the low spots, where there's enough water to support them. 

Prairie Hillsides

The prairie hillsides with draws (which Dan calls the "female parts of the prairie") are filled with color and are stunning against the deep blue sky. 

Ducks

Birds and waterfowl gather in groups before taking off to their winter homes. 

Magpie & Bison

Magpies flutter from buffalo back to buffalo back, catching an easy meal of insects. Magpie on Baby Buffalo

This pesky Magpie finally chose a late summer calf to pick on - I should have videoed it - as it was quite comical.

White Tail Deer

Whitetail Deer bed down in shrubs, trying to stay out of sight of the potential archery hunter. 

Bison Cow CloseUp

The warm late afternoon light sets on a buffalo cow's face illuminating her softness and fabulous eyelashes!

Rapid Creek with Snow

Winter appeared 40 miles west of us and into Wyoming on October 12th, delivering a heavy wet snow, which allowed the rich fall colors to show off even more. The ranch received three inches of welcomed rain. 

Buffalo Couple

The tail end of the rut has this lovely couple on a date in the bottom ground. I hear the food is fabulous and the view isn't bad either. ; )

Bighorn Sheep

A small herd of Bighorn Sheep, Ewes and their calves, graze on the prairie at sunset. 

Bison Running

Last Friday, we moved the buffalo onto the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands. These two ran to catch up before taking the plunge.

Lead Buffalo Cow Crosses river

 The lead buffalo cow is always the first one in...

Bison River Crossing

more dive in quickly...

Buffalo Crossing Cheyenne River

before the herd comes piling in. They head up the river banks and onto the flats. They will roam and graze on the Buffalo Gap Grasslands until April. FYI: I took video of this too, which I hope to share with you soon.

Cheyenne River Buffalo Ranch
October 25th

Monday, I was greeted to this ridiculously gorgeous daybreak. I pulled some light into the image as it was a bit dark, but to my naked eye this is what it looked like.

These Great Plains prairie grasslands have so much to offer, but remain under threat... Our choices greatly impact their future.   

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26 comments

  • superbes photos, merci beaucoup

    Robert
  • Thanks for the uplifting and beautiful photo essay. I have it saved to my speed dial to use as a morning meditation.

    Wayne Fischer
  • You’re right about people thinking of fall color in the highlands, but the prairie has it’s own subtle and unique beauty. The draws and creek bottoms offer shots of color, but the grasses and shrubs of the prairie are beautiful in themselves. I have a color photo of a roundup at Custer State Park, and until you look closely, you think it’s a sepia-tone. But on close examination, the little flowers and shrubs begin to pop. Thank you for your great eye for photos, and for sharing.

    George Frantz

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