Dakota Badlands

The North Dakota badlands are found in the western portion of the state.  The badlands were laid down 65 million years ago during the Paleocene Epoch.  Petrified sequoia stumps can be found in the badlands a result of the ancient swamp which was later covered with volcanic ash.  Bison, elk, coyote, prairie dogs and beautiful birds are now found in the badlands.


"The Bad Lands grade all the way from those that are almost rolling in character to those that are so fantastically broken in form and so bizarre in color as to seem hardly properly to belong to this earth."  "I grow very fond of this place, and it certainly has a desolate, grim beauty of its own, that has a curious fascination for me."  Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States of America 1901-1909, rancher in North Dakota Badlands 1883-1887


The North Dakota Badlands




American Bison



Dust to Dust

American Bison



Pronghorn



Western Meadowlark



Mule Deer



Wild Horse



Sharp-tailed Grouse



Mountain Bluebird



Mule Deer


Theodore Roosevelt National Park contains 70,000 acres in three units: the South Unit has 46,158 acres of which 10,510 are designated wilderness; the North Unit has 24,070 acres of which 19,410 are designated wilderness and the Elkhorn Ranch has 218 acres.  The Elkhorn Ranch was the site of Theodore Roosevelt's second ranch in the badlands.  The park has excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.



Coyote



Coyote



Coyote



American Badger



American Badger



American Badger


Coyote at Sunrise



Coyote



Coyote



American Badger



American Badger



American Badger

Most of the North Dakota badlands were created  from erosion by the Little Missouri River.  The exposed sediments were deposited during the  Paleocene age.  These sediments of sandstone, claystone and lignite coal were deposited by rivers flowing east to the Dakotas from the Rocky Mountains in Montana and Wyoming.  Some layers are from volcanic ash.



Little Missouri River



American Bison


Nursing

American Bison



Autumn Colors



Mountain Bluebird



Sunset North Dakota Badlands



American Bison


Bison Rubbing on Butte

American Bison



Sunset



Mountain Bluebird

The mountain bird's summer range extends from western North Dakota to Canada and Alaska. During the winter, the travel to southern central states and Central America. They hover while looking for insects.



Black-billed Magpie



Fox Squirrel



Black-tailed Prairie Dog



Black-tailed Prairie Dog



Feral Horse



Feral Horse



Loggerhead Shrike



Least Chipmunk



Black-tailed Prairie Dog



Black-tailed Prairie Dog



Feral Horse



Mule Deer


2020 Photos



Feral Horses



Horses and ponies currently reside in about 20 NPS units; 10 units contain feral donkeys and burros. These herds include, among others, the famous Assateague Island ponies residing off the coast of Maryland and Virginia, the Shackleford ponies of Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina, and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park feral horses in North Dakota.


https://thehorse.com/111725/managing-feral-horses-on-national-park-service-lands/



Spring Baby!


The most popular animal in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota is undoubtedly the feral (wild) horse. Horse lovers come from all over the United States to see the substantial population of 70 to 110 wild horses in the park. Feral horses are not a target species for me to photograph but I can't help but finding the spring babies and their devoted mothers absolutely irresistible!




During the summer months, bands of horses may be seen grazing throughout the park. They are often seen along the park boundary from Interstate 94. Horses can also be seen at a distance from high points such as the Painted Canyon Overlook and Buck Hill. While hiking or driving, look for fresh manure to locate horses –stallions mark their territory with "stud piles." These are common along the scenic drive through the park.  Feral horses typically range in small bands of 5-15 animals. Each group has an established social hierarchy, consisting of a dominant stallion, his mares, and their offspring. Frequently a subdominant stallion will "run second" to the leader. Stallions herd their mares by extending their heads and necks low to the ground in a gesture known as "snaking." When a band is in flight, a dominant mare will take the lead with the stallion bringing up the rear. Young stallions roam together in bachelor groups, sometimes in proximity to a stallion harem.  Once formed, these social groups remain remarkably stable and often range within an established territory. Foals are born in the spring after an 11 month gestation period. Upon reaching sexual maturity at age 2-3, young colts and fillies are driven from their natal group and form new bands. Occasionally a bachelor stallion attempts to steal mares from an established group, resulting in fights between rival males.


https://www.nps.gov/thro/learn/nature/horse-history.htm



Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

March 28, 2020



Frisky!


Feral Horse

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

May 11, 2020



Playful!


Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

May 11, 2020



Coming back to Mom!


Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

May 11, 2020



Playing Again!


Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

May 11, 2020



Walking with Mom!


Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

May 11, 2020



Walking more with Mom!


Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

May 11, 2020


Getting Excited about Nursing!


Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

May 11, 2020



Nursing!


Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

May 11, 2020



Resting- This had been a busy Day!


Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

May 11, 2020



Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Feral Horses

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Muskrat


The muskrat is a medium-sized semiaquatic rodent native to North America and an introduced species in parts of Europe, Asia, and South America. The muskrat is found in wetlands over a wide range of climates and habitats. It has important effects on the ecology of wetlands.  Muskrats are referred to as "rats" in a general sense because they are medium-sized rodents with an adaptable lifestyle and an omnivorous diet. They are not, however, members of the genus Rattus.  The name muskrat is because of the association with the "musky" odor, which the muskrat uses to mark its territory, and its flattened tail due to its resemblance to rats.  An adult muskrat is about 40–70 cm (16–28 in) long, half of that is the tail, and weighs from 0.6–2 kg (1.3–4.4 lb).  Muskrats are much smaller than beavers (Castor canadensis), with which they often share their habitat.  Muskrats are covered with short, thick fur, which is medium to dark brown or black in color, with the belly a bit lighter; as the age increases, it turns a partly gray in color. The fur has two layers, which help protect them from the cold water. They have long tails covered with scales rather than hair. To aid them in swimming, their tails are slightly flattened vertically, a shape that is unique to them.  When they walk on land, their tails drag on the ground, which makes their tracks easy to recognize.  Muskrats spend most of their time in the water and are well suited for their semiaquatic life. They can swim under water for 12 to 17 minutes. Their bodies, like those of seals and whales, are less sensitive to the buildup of carbon dioxide than those of most other mammals. They can close off their ears to keep the water out. Their hind feet are semi-webbed, although in swimming, their tails are their main means of propulsion.  They help maintain open areas in marshes, which helps to provide habitat for aquatic birds.  They feed on cattail and other aquatic vegetation.  Plant materials compose about 95% of their diets, but they also eat small animals, such as freshwater mussels, frogs, crayfish, fish, and small turtles.  Muskrat families build nests to protect themselves and their young from cold and predators.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muskrat



Muskrat

McKenzie Slough, Burleigh County, North Dakota

April 3, 2020



Morning Reflection!


Muskrat

McKenzie Slough, Burleigh County, North Dakota


Photo of the Day- April 27, 2020



My What Big Teeth You Have!


Muskrat

McKenzie Slough, Burleigh County, North Dakota

April 27, 2020



Nap Time!


Muskrat

McKenzie Slough, Burleigh County, North Dakota

April 27, 2020



Foot Reflection!


Muskrat

McKenzie Slough, Burleigh County, North Dakota

April 27, 2020



Muskrat

Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge, North Dakota

May 17, 2020



Moose



Moose

 Burleigh County, North Dakota

April 19, 2020



Moose

 Burleigh County, North Dakota

April 19, 2020



American Bison



Red Dogs or Bison Babies

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

 May 12, 2020



American Bison

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

 June 11, 2020



American Bison Reflection

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

 June 11, 2020



American Bison

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 12, 2020



American Bison

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 12, 2020



Least Chipmunks


Least Chipmunk

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

 June 28, 2020



Least Chipmunk

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

 June 28, 2020



Least Chipmunk

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

 June 28, 2020



Least Chipmunk

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

 

Photo of the Day- June 28, 2020


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