Petals, Fur, and Horns (Original Photography)

in #photography5 months ago


This was the view out at Minneopa State Park, near Mankato, MN, on Thursday. The bison herd was lazily grazing in a sea of yellow wildflowers. The enclosure consists of a relatively large piece of prairie with a gravel road winding through it. There is a cattle guard at each end that keeps the genetically pure animals from escaping and hybridizing with non-bison bovines. I've come to refer to the enclosure as the Minnesota Safari.


It's amzing how such large animals can hide in the tall grasses. Sometimes, I'll drive through and not even catch a glimpse of them. Even with so much contrast, they can be hard to spot laying down. In this section, though, the wildflowers weren't quite tall enough for them to escape notice. Even if they hadn't been close to the road, they would have stood out.

"You can't see me!"

Some of them started to mosy over toward the road. That's when I noticed the line of cars that had pulled up behind my vehicle. I was actually parked on the wrong side of the road and looking through the 70-200mm bazooka of a lens, so I hadn't noticed the arrival of so many additional vehicles.

Minnesota Safari "Photographer"

Earlier in the year, I hadn't seen any cowbirds. They were definitely around on this evening, though! These little insect-eaters evolved to follow the bison herds across the plain. One of their nastier adaptations is that they lay their eggs in other birds' nests. Far from being a daycare situation, the cowbirds will out-compete their "siblings" for food.

Cowbird Public Transportation

There was another clump of bison in a slightly less floral spot, lying low and seeming to just enjoy the cooler weather. One or two did the "bison flop," though, so the flies must have been pestering them a bit.

The "Clique"

For reference, here's what the "bison flop" looks like. They flop onto their sides and roll a bit, kicking up dust. If they're lucky, they might squash a few of the pesky insects in the process.

The photo was taken on a different day, in difficult lighting.

Does NOT Want a Belly Rub

They really stand out nicely in these yellow flowers.

Yum. Yellow Salad.

Thank you for taking a look! If you enjoy my work, please click the upvote button. Comments are also greatly appreciated.



I'm really glad that Blocktrades upvoted you again! I met them in Amsterdam at a conference and they are really awesome people! Blocktrades is also who rigged up my laptop when I was in Australia so I could do the Beos at sea :)
And I love the bison safari shots you take!

Thanks! This was the first I've ever gotten to see them wade through wildflowers. Blocktrades seem like a good group, especially helping with the laptop and all!

Nice photos. I saw bison years ago in South Dakota. This is a really beautiful location for these bisons!

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Thanks! They were fun to watch, moseying through the flowers.

Very nice photographs. And I liked the last photo the most.

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Oh man, these are wonderful sir fotosdenada! My favorites are the flop and the second photo just with the horns and top of the head showing.
Hey, in that first photo what kind of tower is that up on the hill?

Thanks! That tower i what remains of an 1800's windmill, used for grinding wheat. It was broken beyond repair in the late 1800's and replaced with a "modern" one.

Howdy today sir fotosdenada! Oh, that windmill sounds cool, can you get to it to take pictures?

Yeah, I've gotten some in the past. It's an interesting structure, but the windmill blades are gone and it's locked up tight. I'd love to see the inside.


With Mankato being where two rivers join, it's surprising that the family that built it didn't use water power. The river is literally less than a mile from the windmill. It's also navigable water, so they could have milled and moved shipments downstream to Mankato with ease. Maybe they just wanted to be able to continue into the freezing months of December and January...

wow that is such a great looking windmill and the other building looks to be in great shape too, they both do, that's amazing! That windmill looks pretty big, I wonder if you could make it into a little house?

Great shots! Goats do a flop like the bison flop, but I bet it's more impressive when the bison do it.

Thanks! The bison version sure kicks up a lot of dirt.

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Thanks for sharing beautiful photography. You are great.

They really look big! I thought cows big!

They are pretty big :-)

What fantastic shots and cool how the birds and the bison interact for each others benefit

The prairies are so beautiful right now, all green and gold! Hey that would be a good color combination for a sports team! Beautiful photos. !Tip

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