Friday, May 8, 2009

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

What a wonderful place! We found the campground and signed in at the little building. The campground is in the woods like the campgrounds we used to go to with the pop-up years ago. One of the first things we noticed were the hummers. Right after we set up, Tom suggested we get out the feeder. I mixed up some hummer juice, and filled the feeder and put it on the window. It took maybe 2 minutes for the little beauties to find it. They were all over it. What fun we had having breakfast with our little friends. The birds were everywhere. We woke up each morning to their singing. I even saw a summer tanager. He was bright red, like a cardinal, but shaped more like a robin. He was beautiful. I wish I had gotten a picture, but he was only there briefly. In the evening is when the deer came out. One night about 15 or so came walking by and decided to rest for a bit in a campsite across from ours was empty. We got some photos, but one of them was trying to play with the others, and they finally got up and stated to romp and play. Soon they went on their way. One morning I thought I heard a turkey gobble. I got out of bed and sure enough there he was. At the top of his lungs walking through the campground at about 7:30. I wish I had that picture, too. He was the biggest turkey I ever saw.
The reason we decided to come here was for the buffalo and long horn cattle that roam on the open range. The herds number around 6 to 7 hundred. What a sight to see. At one point we had to stop the car and just watch them as the grazed near the side of the road. They were so close to us we could have reached out to touch them. Of course they could have been dangerous. They have a herd of elk also, but the didn't come out. It was windy, and elk don't like the wind. It's something about these little hairs they have. We did get our fill of the buffalo, though. maybe next time we'll see the elk. Definitely there will be a next time.
One of our favorite things to do is watch prairie dogs. Well, they are in abundance at the refuge. As you drive over the rise you have to go really slow. They have homes on both sides of the road, and they don't look both ways. In fact they will yell at you if you don't pay attention to them. They are just so busy. We had watched them in Williams, AZ when we were there visiting the Grand Canyon last year, but we didn't get this close. You could get out and walk around them, but they are wild, and it isn't a good idea to get too close. My favorite picture is of this fat little guy sitting up. Wait till you see it. We went back a second day just to watch them.
We collected enough wood to have a small fire and did hot dogs. They taste so good over the fire. I had some marshmallows, and the fire was just about out. There is so much to see in the refuge. It's such a beautiful drive. We'er so glad we went.

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